Implementing car sharing

Why implement a car sharing scheme?

It will help your business by reducing demand for parking spaces, increase staff well-being and demonstrate corporate social responsibility.

Car sharing is a good option for staff living in rural areas with limited access to public transport or essential car users who want to save money on the cost of fuel. It can be used by both drivers and non-drivers.

Woman greets ride share driver

What this toolkit offers

This guide is designed to help you to implement a car sharing scheme and encourage your staff to either register at one of the many different websites which offer car sharing services, join your company car sharing scheme or set up informal car sharing arrangements. The guide covers the following topics.

  • Congestion: you will benefit from reduced congestion on your site and will also relieve localised congestion;
  • Parking: if your organisation is experiencing issues with parking availability on site, car sharing can reduce demand for parking by reducing the numbers of employees driving to work alone. This would also free up parking spaces for visitors, customers and suppliers or release the spaces for more productive and profitable use. In addition, relationships with the local community will be improved if your employees’ cars don’t spill out onto surrounding streets;
  • Boosts Morale: assists with staff recruitment and retention by enabling cheaper and more flexible travel options and reducing stress;
  • Accessibility: employees without cars will still be able to access your organisation. This is particularly relevant if your business or your work workforce is in a rural area with limited public transport;
  • Planning: can contribute to Section 106 agreements/planning permission;
  • Commitment: helps achieve and demonstrate commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and sustainability objectives; and
  • Informal business activity: enables informal business activity among colleagues during commuting time.
  • Health and Wellbeing: Car sharing has been demonstrated to reduce stress and enable participants to meet new people.

The term ‘car share’ refers to the practice of more than one person travelling in a car, rather than each driving alone. The person getting the lift gives the driver a cash contribution towards the fuel costs, so both save money. Both the driver and the passenger should agree beforehand how much the monetary contribution will be (calculate using e.g. the Liftshare savings calculator), but the driver must not participate on a ‘for profit’ basis (as this could invalidate the driver’s insurance). Alternatively, if the driver and passenger share on a regular basis and each owns a car, they may prefer to take it in turns to drive.

You could set up a private car share scheme for your site/business to enable staff to find car share partners. This can be done through various approaches as outlined below.

Setting up your own private system

Setting up your own scheme has the benefit that employees would only share with employees of their own company, which can increase both the perception of safety and the willingness to take part. Below are some steps you may wish to take if you decide to set up your own car share scheme:

  • Issue a survey to staff to find out who may be interested in car sharing;
  • From the responses received, plot the home postcodes of all staff that would be willing to car share on a map. For the purpose of confidentiality, do not advertise who each person is but appoint someone to keep a list of names and postcodes and staff can come and ask for information if they need it. Data can also be anonymized using only the first three postcode digits;
  • Display the map in a prominent location so staff can see if there is someone else who is willing to car share along their route;
  • Promote your car share scheme by organising networking events such as coffee sessions for interested car sharers to meet and discuss requirements in person.

It can be helpful to choose an enthusiastic member of staff to manage and promote the scheme.

Commissioning an outside provider to run your scheme

Various businesses can establish and run a private car share system for your business. Known providers include (however others may be available):

Liftshare – website: www.liftshare.com/business

Faxi – website www.faxi.co.uk/corporates.php

Using publicly available car share systems

A range of publicly available car share databases are available for your staff to join to find car share partners including (however others may be available):

Liftshare www.carshare.liftshare.com/

Bla Bla Car https://www.blablacar.co.uk/

A potential drawback of this approach is that some staff may prefer not to sign up to a publicly available group and only be willing to share with other people from within their employer organisations.

Priority Car Share Parking

A good way to incentivise car sharing is to allocate dedicated parking spaces to car sharers. The preferential spaces act as a constant reminder to those that don’t share, as well as a bonus to sharers who are able to park in a guaranteed space each time they car share. Try to locate the spaces in the most attractive areas, such as immediately outside the main entrance, and clearly mark them. Dedicated car parking spaces for car sharers can work well particularly if there are parking issues.

Such a scheme would need to be administered, perhaps by use of a permit system, and monitored regularly to prevent misuse of the spaces and to make the scheme credible. A member of staff could be asked to periodically monitor the spaces and/or you could issue car share passes. In many instances these spaces become self-enforcing with staff members monitoring the scheme.

If you have daily parking charges at your site you may wish to make car sharers exempt. If there is some resistance to implementing priority car sharing parking, you may wish to start with a small number of car share spaces and then gradually increase provision in line with demand.

Guaranteed Lift Home

Car share schemes should be supported by a free guaranteed lift home scheme for staff who car share. Offering Guaranteed Lift Home (GLH) to staff in the event that a car share partner has to leave early or in an emergency provides peace of mind and is an easy way to encourage staff to travel by different modes other than alone by car. Although this will incur the cost of a taxi or train ticket, such incidents are usually very rare. Experience has shown employees only use this scheme occasionally and the policy typically costs the employer approximately £300 per year but saves the employer much more through staff using sustainable modes of travel.

This section provides answers to FAQs on barriers to car sharing.

Would car sharing affect my insurance?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) clearly states that car sharing won’t affect the insurance of their members, so long as a profit isn’t made.

How safe is car sharing?

When it comes to travelling, every member is responsible for his or her own safety. However it is recommended that people follow some simple security measures outlined below:

  • Avoid exchanging home addresses with your travelling companion before you meet them.
  • Arrange to meet for the first time in a public place or a work canteen for example.
  • Inform a friend or family member of who you will be travelling with, when, and to where.
  • Make sure you see each other’s IDs – passports, student cards or driving licences – so you know you’re travelling with the right person.
  • You are under no obligation to go ahead with any car share arrangement. If you have any doubts about your travelling companion, for any reason, then you don’t have to travel with them.
  • Check that the person you are sharing with has the legal driving documents such as driving licence, car insurance, MOT, and car tax.

I won’t know how much to charge

Drivers often take it in turns to drive so in these cases payment isn’t involved. Alternatively, passengers share the cost of the fuel. Liftshare.com provides a savings calculator which may assist with calculating costs.

I don’t own a car

Many people are happy to offer lifts in exchange for a contribution towards fuel costs.

If I’ve car shared how will I get home in an emergency?

A key concern for some employees when thinking about the implications of car sharing is the inability to get home quickly in the case of an emergency. Setting up and promoting a Guaranteed Lift Home policy is an ideal way to overcome these concerns.