Car sharing is an increasingly popular way for people to commute to work, with on-street congestion in major cities across the UK and fuel costs hitting all-time highs.
Whether you choose to go for a more informal arrangement with friends, colleagues or neighbours heading in the same direction, or if you sign up for an open lift sharing scheme through apps like BlaBlaCar or GoCarShare, be sure to consider these pros and cons before making your final decision:
Pro: You’ll save money
One of the key pain points listed by employees having to come back into the office on a regular basis has been the cost of commuting; train-goers and drivers alike are spending upwards of £60 per week just to get to their workplace. Sharing a lift with co-passengers means splitting the bulk of costs like fuel, parking, and tolls, resulting in significant savings. In addition, car sharing can also help reduce wear and tear on vehicles, resulting in lower maintenance costs.
Plus, with a little outside-the-box thinking, you can save even further by booking your parking space ahead of time or even reserving one for the entire month.
Con: As the driver, your space is no longer your own
While you may get to set the “car rules” (like no messy foods or strong perfumes), this also means your passengers likely have the expectation that you keep your car neat and do deep-cleans on a regular basis. It is your sole responsibility to ensure that your car is fit for passengers and for the road.
Pro: It can be better for the environment
Reducing the number of cars on the road can ease traffic congestion in major cities, resulting in fewer delays and lower fuel consumption, with as much as 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 being saved per year by shared transportation.
While car-pooling may not be for everyone, there are still ways to reduce your carbon footprint in daily life like planning your journey in advance to cut down on in-car idle time.
Con: You’ll be working on other people’s schedules
Sharing a ride requires a level of trust and dependence on others. If someone in the car share is consistently late or cancels at the last minute, it can disrupt the entire group's schedule. Make sure to set out a set schedule amongst some other ground rules; if you need a bit more flexibility in your workday, you may want to consider alternative ways of commuting. Late meetings or unexpected changes in plans can disrupt the car share schedule, so be sure to be considerate of your fellow passengers or driver.
Pro: You gain some time back in the morning for productivity
As a passenger, you can take advantage of time spent in-car whether that means sending a few early morning Slack messages, reading the news or chatting to others in your lift; especially if they happen to be co-workers, you can strengthen your relationship in the office by gaining extra facetime with those you may not always interact with.
Con: Not everything will be to your liking
Do you need some extra leg room, prefer to drive with the windows down or carry extra bags for the gym? Sharing a space can mean you might have to sacrifice the comforts of your own car, or having to tolerate the playlist preferences of those sharing your space. Be prepared for an open-minded approach if you choose to go this route.
Ultimately, whether or not lift sharing is a good option for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you can find a group of flexible and considerate coworkers or neighbours, take advantage of the cost savings and start planning your car share.