Top tips for informal lift- and car-sharing

Giving lifts and sharing cars is a great way to minimise carbon emissions and potentially save money, especially in rural communities where public transport may not be available for every journey we need to make. Here are our top tips to help you get started.

This blog is about tips for informal lift- and car-sharing, where you’re sharing amongst small numbers of friends, neighbours or colleagues. If you’d like to go beyond this and share with people you haven’t met before, there are tried-and-tested apps like Hiyacar and Kinto Join designed to help you do this.

Start simple

Find people who are travelling to the same place as you, and start the conversation. 

If you make similar journeys each week – for example, taking the kids to Scouts each week, supermarket shopping, a daily commute to work – the chances are other people might be travelling to the same places. They might be happy to share the responsibility of driving and it might halve the cost of your commute.

By using simple systems, such as a WhatsApp or Facebook group, and sharing with people you know, most concerns you may have about sharing can be overcome. You might also find travel buddies by sticking a notice in the village hall or your workplace, posting on local social media groups or newsletters, or spreading the word verbally amongst friends and contacts. If you’re organising an event or group journey, you could suggest to participants that they share a lift. Local Ramblers groups are a great example of doing this successfully.

Being reliable and communicating well is an important success factor. Our advice is to keep it simple.

If you own a car, consider whether you could share it

According to the RAC Foundation, most domestic cars and vans are driven just 4% of the time, with the average car being driven for just 1 hour out of every 24 (being parked at home or elsewhere for the rest of the time). It makes sense to consider sharing your car with someone who could use it while you don’t need it – take a look at this local case study of an informal car sharing arrangement between neighbours: Car sharing local case study – Hope Valley Climate Action

Some arrangements are as simple as adding someone to your insurance and making a key available (here is an example on X: SarahSpeak), or apps like HiyaCar will deal with the hassle of insurance and payments so you don’t have to. You may prefer this more structured approach even in small groups of friends.

Communicate well

Whatever arrangement you make, clear communication will make the process more smooth. If your plans change on the day you planned to share a lift or your car, let the other party know as soon as possible. It’s advisable to have a plan B (even if it’s not perfect) if arrangements do fall through for any reason.

 If you share your car, don’t forget to agree ways of working such as a way of measuring mileage and who is responsible for cleaning the car after use.

It’s totally ok to ‘break up’ if the arrangement isn’t useful any more. It’s good to be clear about what you both need and if it’s not working out, have an honest conversation about ending the agreement. Many factors in our lives change over time, so your lift- or car-sharing buddy will probably be expecting the arrangement to come to a natural end at some point.

Explore more structured options for car sharing 

Car sharing apps such as Hiyacar and lift-sharing platform Kinto provide ways to share lifts or your car in a more formal way, with anyone you choose. Apps like these have features such as managing bookings and payments where applicable, to give you peace of mind.

What would your top tips for lift and car sharing be? Email us at [email protected].