Car share is easier than you think
21 October 2019
By Hayley Carmichael
We can all find reasons to keep our cars for ourselves, but sharing is caring (for the environment) and it is not as hard as it might first seem. We hear why, from Janet Miller, Deputy Director of Workforce at SASH.
Challenging the single occupancy myths
Janet has worked for SASH since January 2011 and has spent the majority of that time traveling to and from work on her own in her car, as do many other people, not just at SASH but across the NHS.
Then, at the start of this year she began to question whether or not she really needed to be the only person in her car. She told us, “As a senior manager I have to be flexible with my hours – particularly at the end of the day – this is how I justified my single occupancy but I really wanted to do something to reduce my carbon footprint.”
“I made a conscious decision to seek out colleagues whom I knew travelled the same journey each day. Together we committed to car share two days a week. This gives the option for me to work later/come in earlier on the other days. On the back of the success of this I have now added another colleague one day a week for the full journey and we pick up and drop off another colleague for part of the journey.”
The things to think about
While Janet has been doing this almost a year now, it has been a bit of a learning curve, she explains how she needed to make some personal changes to help car sharing work well.
“I have had to be really disciplined with my work/hours on the car share days, and I learnt to make sure that my car share buddies are informed of my annual leave in good time so they can make alternative plans.
“It was hard at first to not feel guilty at leaving at ‘going home time’ but I’ve actually found that it helps to have a reason for leaving work on time.”
A social opportunity
While there has been some personal adjustment to enable car sharing, Janet has also found that it brings some big positives to her life too, “I have genuinely enjoyed the social aspect of the car share (we never talk about work), on the days I’m not driving I find I have more energy when I get home to do something other than slump in front of the TV and on the days I’m driving it is no more tiring (less so in fact) than driving on my own.”
You can do it too
Janet thinks that if everyone tried to car share for just one journey per week it would bring several benefits:
- Help tackle parking issues on site
- Create closer working relationships with colleagues
- Reduce carbon emissions to help tackle climate change
- Reduce local air pollution to help tackle health related problems
She said, “Don’t be afraid to make the first move and be very clear what you want (I couldn’t car share with a smoker for example) but the important thing is to just give it a try.”
If you decide to reduce your car use through car sharing, you can support your commitment by making our ‘one less car journey’ pledge – just click here.