Green means go! The eco-friendly benefits of car sharing

Mark and Bob from Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company

If, like me, the only ‘car share’ you’ve heard of is the hilarious Peter Kay sitcom about two people who share (and fall in love) in a car on their daily commute to work, you might be surprised to know that several National Lottery funded projects are already adopting this greener mode of transport.

In this blog, Maggie Lawson, Development Manager of Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company, explains the benefits of car sharing and reminds us why, with a New Year upon us, we can all make small, manageable changes that help to improve our environment.

“Helping to change the lives of isolated older people who live in rural areas, is a real passion of mine. I have been with Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company for just over 20 twenty years and the thing I love most about my job is being able to put a smile on people’s faces every single day.

Our car share scheme is made possible by 125 volunteers who offer their time and car to 1,550 isolated, older people every year taking them to and from appointments. For many of our clients, this is the only contact they will have with the outside world from one week to the next.

Community transport is a lifeline for these older people

The great thing about community transport is that people only travel on the roads when they need to, so it’s demand led. This helps to cut down on the carbon footprint. A car sharing scheme, for example, can pick up four people in the one area, whereas a local bus service travels around communities picking up one person at a time. We encourage people to share transport as often as they can. As well as a great way to meet new people, a car sharing scheme reduces the number of cars on the road and helps lower emissions.

We also provide door to door community bus and car services, an assisted shopping service and a free scooter and wheelchair loan service. Run for the community by the community, our services are free, safe, flexible and more environmentally conscious.

Older people enjoying a day out

Back in 2009, we were the first organisation in Scotland to test out a converted electric car in a rural area. Thinking back now, the car was so different from current models, but we were proud to be part of that trial.

Now in 2020, one of the environmentally modes of transport we’re testing is an e-trishaw as part of our “Where2Today?’ project. The great thing about this is that older people, from day care centres for example, can get out and about to enjoy the fresh area in the safe hands of trained volunteer pilots.

“All of these activities put the biggest smiles on people’s faces and it’s wonderful to know that we have played a part in that while making small changes that benefit our environment.”

Badenoch & Strathspey Community Transport Company recently received a National Lottery Community Fund grant of £112,500 to continue to deliver its community transport service over three years.

They are amongst many National Lottery funded projects across Scotland which are helping to reduce the carbon footprint of communities. Find out more about what the National Lottery Community Fund is doing to help tackle the climate emergency though our £100 million Climate Action Fund.

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