Sharing cars makes sense - but it's still more common than not to see queues of traffic with just one person in each vehicle. Lift sharing is a sociable way to travel, helps cut congestion, saves money and is a great way to lower your carbon footprint.
Backed by funding from the Highland Council's Ward 10 discretionary fund, Transition Black Isle developed highland.liftshare.com with award-winning social enterprise Liftshare. Put simply, highland.liftshare.com is a local portal to the national Liftshare network. It makes it easy for people to find others to team up with for car journeys in the Highlands and beyond.
We often hear about the car journeys being shared and it is interesting to see how people . Below are two stories of how people have used highland.liftshare.com to find someone to share their journey.
Heather and Rory - Ardersier to Inverness
Heather and Rory both live in Ardesier and have been sharing their commute to Inverness since February 2014. Heather (38) works part-time at the University of the Highlands and Islands and found out about highland.liftshare.com through a poster in her office. She had always felt that driving alone to Inverness was a waste and so she was keen to give liftsharing a try. Rory (26) is a Project Worker for Waverley Care and heard about highland.liftshare.com just before moving to Ardesier.
Rory received a quick response from Heather when he first registered with highland.liftshare.com and they met up for a drink beforehand to discuss their arrangements. Heather and Rory share a return journey to Inverness of around 11 miles each way around three days a week. Heather always drives as she needs her car to fit in with childcare arrangements. On days that Heather is not driving, she sends Rory a text so he can make other arrangements. Heather is pleased that her initial concerns over flexibility have proven to be unfounded:
“I did wonder whether liftsharing would be a bit restrictive, committing to leaving home and work at a set time. Actually, our arrangements are quite flexible.”
Rory finds liftsharing more convenient and has made considerable savings:
“I pay Heather £5 per week, saving myself around £10 a week from driving myself or catching the bus.”
As they approach the first anniversary of commencing their liftshare partnership, Rory has saved close to £500 and Heather has had nearly £250 towards the running costs of her car. Together, they have cut over 3,500 car miles and saved over one tonne of carbon pollution. However, the main benefit for Heather is having company for her commute:
“A contribution to fuel costs is a great help but I mainly like having somebody to chat with. I can also be a bit of a nervous driver and having someone in the car with me is quite reassuring. I’m really glad that I signed up to highland.liftshare.com - I have made a new friend that I would not have met otherwise.”
Roger - Avoch to Inverness
Roger works as a Planning and Development Manager for West Coast Energy. He signed up to highland.liftshare.com in May 2013 to find someone to share his commute between Avoch and Inverness. Roger quickly found someone looking to share the same journey and it turned out that they already knew each other:
“I only found out he was liftsharing through highland.liftshare.com, so the website really helped make the connection.”
They commute to Inverness together on an occasional basis, making arrangements over the phone. On average, they share the 23 mile round trip one day a week. Roger makes a contribution for each journey. He has found the experience to be overwhelmingly positive:
In addition, Roger finds sharing the journey with someone else makes the commute a lot more enjoyable. He brings a folding bike along which helps make his liftsharing more flexible:
“I can be dropped anywhere and I am only a five minute cycle away from work.”
Combining cycling and liftsharing has improved Roger’s commute and he recommends highland.liftshare.com to others:
“The website is a great way of finding somebody to share with and I would use it again”.
How does our website work?
You can use highland.liftshare.com to look for matches for three types of journey: i) regular (e.g. commute to work), ii) occasional (e.g. trips to meetings) and iii) one-off (e.g. travel to a festival). It's possible to specify the times and days that you travel. You don't even have to own a car to use the site as you can specify that you are seeking a lift not offering a spare seat. It isn't just for journeys across the Highlands: it's possible to add a journey anywhere in the UK - useful for trips down to the Central Belt). See our video on how to add a journey to highland.liftshare.com (skip to around one minute in to avoid the intro!).
Membership has swelled since the site launched in December 2012. As of late January 2015, highland.liftshare.com has 706 members registered. A total of 807 journeys have been registered, around half of which are commutes to work. There are over 300 journeys with Inverness as the destination and over 150 journeys starting from the Black Isle.
There's a good chance of finding a match already, but we want as many people to register to ensure there are journeys starting from across the region. The website has a Quick Search facility that lets you do a quick check on who is travelling your way. Why not enter your start point and end destination in the boxes below and see how many similar journeys are already registered on highland.liftshare.com...
Lift-sharing can be difficult in sparsely populated areas and so TBI encourages users to be patient if there are no matching journeys when they first sign up. As membership grows, TBI director Wendy Price advises members to keep checking their accounts:
“Although the site will send users a message when a matching journey is registered, we recommend going back to highland.liftshare.com every so often and refreshing your journey details and search criteria.”
If you're already a member of highland.liftshare.com, then you can sign in to the site using the box below: