Car owners happy to pool resources
IN A national first Northern Rivers councils have launched agovernment-funded regional carpooling initiative that uses theinternet to link compatible drivers and passengers.
After an extensive trial period last year involving the North Coast Area Health Service and Southern Cross University, more than 320 people have already registered on the site.
“People involved in the pilot have already experienced the benefits of carpooling,” Northern Rivers Carpool co-ordinator Gillian Edwards said.
“Most cars on the roads have only a single occupant, so it makes sense to share the journey by filling up the car seats.”
Ms Edwards said although the program would not be officially launched until today, between 15 and 20 people were already signing up every day.
She said it was about changing people’s habits. “We are hoping to sign up thousands over the next year,” she said.
The project aims to create anetwork of commuters, from the Tweed to the Clarence, who have similar travel patterns, to share their travel time and travelling costs.
“People on the North Coast travel long distances just to get to work, so just imagine how much you can cut off the petrol bill by sharing costs,” Ms Edwards said.
Carpoolers must first register online at www.nrcarpool.org, which automatically matches travellers and times of departure.
Ms Edwards rejected concerns that those with irregular shifts would find it difficult to carpool.
“So far the two biggest groups using the program are nurses and students who have irregular start and finish times,” she said, adding that the program was proving popular with women.
In addition to saving petrol costs, carpool vehicles will get priority parking across the Northern Rivers.
The program is funded by the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure, Southern Cross University, North Coast TAFE, North Coast Area Health, and the Lismore, Ballina, Byron, Richmond Valley, Clarence and Tweed councils.