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Car In The Community

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Car In The Community

Geoff Maxted
October 17, 2013

Car Sharing Parking
Despite their repeated denials at the time, the previous government hated the motorist and used drivers as a sort of captive cash point. The present administration stated upon election that the war on motorists was over but - although it seems that the police are not quite so purposeful now that most speed camera partnerships have closed down and police numbers have dropped significantly - it seems that the Chancellor isn’t in any hurry to reduce fuel duty or generally help in this sector.

Sure, we’ve had the laughable token penny off but that still means, at the time of writing, petrol has never been more expensive - give or take. These days the tax debate has taken a back seat and we are left to the dubious fluctuations of the market. Governments are like that - adrift from the real world. For example, remember John Prescott’s M4 bus lane? What a pathetic use of public money that was and all for political expediency. Everyone knew it wouldn’t work and so it proved. He’s in the House of Lords now, by the way.

But that’s politics. From time to time some blank-eyed brainless bureaucrat will come up with a half-baked idea to get us out of our cars and on to public transport. Leaving aside the ridiculous cost of train fares, we Brits are not going to give up the convenience of our wheels that easily. That’s why someone came up with the idea of car sharing. Now, there’s nothing new about this; work colleagues have for years seen the sense of taking it in turns and filling all the seats, thus saving car journeys and fuel, but in more recent times the economics of motoring have driven people to begin sharing with strangers. It’s all a bit dodgy surely? You pull up at a pre-arranged point only to find you’re giving a lift to some enormous oaf with halitosis who, while you’re thanking him for not smoking, is spraying the interior of your car with flakes of pie crust and spittle. Ugh. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be like this and many clubs have been organised nationally where registration is essential and security is an important part of their organisation. (If you are unsure about your personal security, visit www.suzylamplugh.org where there is plenty of help and advice).

Car sharing - also known as car pooling or lift sharing etc - allows people to benefit from the convenience of the car whilst helping to alleviate congestion and pollution. It helps your fuel bill too. Ultimately, it might help to reduce the number of cars on the road at peak times and provide a solution to the access problems of rural areas now that the bus companies have given up on unprofitable routes, potentially leaving village inhabitants - especially elderly people - trapped in their homes. This is where a bit of community spirit can help and lighten the financial load on your car bills. Enlightened employers might also like to encourage car sharing amongst employees, especially as they are all going to the same place. Nobody likes to give up their independence but, at today’s prices, what’s not to like about sharing?

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