Comment – Car pooling
The section below is republished with permission from the Going Solar Transport Newsletter #33, 23 October 2007. Going Solar, www.goingsolar.com.au/transport.
In Transport Newsletter #29, Darren McClelland noted that local governments have some reservations about taking on a role to promote car pooling to residents and businesses in their municipality through an on-line, car pool database of choice. One of the perceived barriers is the fear of travelling with strangers. Security, safety and privacy can all be resolved by recommending some best practice steps for car poolers to take to reassure themselves. For example, passengers could seek character references, take their partners to meet the driver at their home, meet at a common public place as an alternative to home addresses, advise friends and family of their drivers details and so on. Some initial nervousness about sharing with strangers should be reconciled with other aspects of public life that readily accept engagement with the unknown.
Another concern is that car pooling is not feasible given that many people work irregular hours. However, if every single car commuter agreed to try car pooling only one day a week and commit to it, this would potentially result in a 20% reduction in traffic. It has been identified that a like commitment by Canada’s driving commuters would meet the Canadian Government’s Kyoto Protocol commitment.
Also, car pooling databases can be tailored to meet special needs such as dropping off children at schools. Some councils are also concerned about their public liability for any mishaps that might occur in a car pooling scheme that they promote. However appropriate precautions, such as effective disclaimers, may alleviate these concerns.
Thanks to Darren McClelland for this item.