Make a New Year’s resolution for a low-car diet

MOTORISTS are being urged by Devon County Council to make a New Year s resolution to reduce congestion, cut their carbon footprint and save hundreds of pound a year by car sharing. More than 7,100 people across the county have already registered at www.carsharedevon.com

MOTORISTS are being urged by Devon County Council to make a New Year's resolution to reduce congestion, cut their carbon footprint and save hundreds of pound a year by car sharing.

More than 7,100 people across the county have already registered at www.carsharedevon.com and it is aiming for another bumper year of attracting new members. To kickstart the New Year, people who register between 1 - 30 January will be entered into a free prize draw to win �100 worth of vouchers of their choice.

The Carsharedevon scheme is free to join and the advanced matching software provides members with details of others who are travelling the same route. The service is commissioned by Devon County Council, in partnership with Plymouth City Council and Torbay Council.

Councillor Stuart Hughes Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: "Car sharing can be a great way for everyone to help reduce congestion and to protect the environment. A lot of people's budgets can be tight at this time of year, so the New Year could be the perfect time to sign up to the website and save yourself some money."


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Plymouth City Council's Sustainable Transport team will also be taking to the streets around the Langage Estate, near Plympton, on 18 January to promote the Carsharedevon scheme and the Langage Links travel plan.

Mike Ginger, of the Highways Agency who are supporting the Langage Links Travel Plan, said: "Every car shared helps to ease congestion and reduce pollution, and offers commuters typical cost savings of �500 year."

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People who have successfully found a match through Carsharedevon.com include Jenny Lockett, who works for the Exe Estuary Partnership, based in Exeter.

She said: "Car sharing is an excellent way to save money, cut congestion and lower my carbon footprint. It makes the drive to work much easier, especially the days that I don't drive, and it gives me friends to chat to along the way. Car sharing with a person from another area can mean that the journey is slightly lengthened on certain days but the inconvenience of this is far outweighed by the benefits to your wallet. Differing work commitments sometimes mean that we are commuting at different times or going to different locations but it is easy to plan around these days and by having four of us there is always at least one other person to share with, I'd urge people not to let irregular working patterns dissuade them from car sharing."

Dr Tamsin Kilner O'Byrne works at the University of Exeter and has successfully used carsharedevon.com. She said: "It was very easy to register and I share five days a week, on the journey from Rockbeare into Exeter with Tom Pomeroy. I think it probably saves both of us about a third on what we'd otherwise be paying."

Carole Ferguson lives near Witheridge and drives to Loxbeare where she meets Kate Barlow and they take it in turns to drive from there to County Hall in Exeter. Carole says that car sharing saves her money but not having to drive so far alone also stops her feeling tired when she is travelling home in the dark nights. Katie has to go out on visits as part of her job so she is flexible with her car sharing, but the benefits in savings on fuel costs and parking charges make it worthwhile.

Sharon O'Reilly and Val Hall regularly car share from Crediton into Exeter and are occasionally joined by Jay Talbot when his usual car share partner isn't available. Sharon said: "We are saving money on fuel and parking charges but it's also more fun to have company as it makes the journey go quicker and beats listening to the radio on your own. We hope that a fourth person will register on carsharedevon.com and join us.

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