Marlyn Glen MSP

Speech in the Scottish Parliament

Car sharing

26 January 2011

I, too, congratulate Alison McInnes on securing this evening’s debate and on setting out so clearly the advantages of lift sharing.

We talk about transport a lot in the chamber—and in committee. I think—or at least I hope—that we are all aware of the pressing need to decrease the level of greenhouse gas emissions, especially from the driving of private vehicles.

Individuals need to be persuaded out of their cars and encouraged to make more use of public transport.

However, that is often quite difficult in more outlying areas when public transport is not easily available—and by that I mean some urban areas as well as outlying rural areas.

People also need to choose more environmentally friendly cars when they choose to drive, but one quick way in which to cut emissions—and save money—is to share cars.

I congratulate liftshare and getabout in the north-east on this worthwhile initiative.

Such work can be replicated by many employers and groups of employers.

Many already have travel plans that include car-sharing arrangements as well as active travel such as walking and cycling, which are healthy as well as good for the environment.

The University of Dundee is one exemplar of such good practice and I spoke about it in our debate on active travel in June.

I must, however, express a concern about safety.

There are real concerns about the safety of hitch-hiking, which I do not think any of us would advise people to try nowadays, but there is also a slight concern about the safety of car sharing.

It must be done with some caution and it would be wise to follow the safety guidelines for sharing.

People can share with people they know, and women can ensure that they share a car with other women.

Those things will help to give people confidence when they start out in car sharing.

If people share cars when they give children a lift to school, that might cut the jams that occur in front of some primary schools.

Again, however, there would have to be safety measures in place to ensure, for example, that children were strapped in safely when they were not travelling with their parents.

Perhaps the minister could comment on the safety aspects of car sharing and take on board the need for car sharing to be included in the RPP, as Alison McInnes suggested.
The traffic Scotland website has local links for car sharing and a calculator for CO2 emissions.

There is a pressing need for a campaign to encourage eco-driving, including reducing speeds to reduce petrol consumption.

We should all be aware that changes in driving style can help the planet as well as the pocket, and people can make even more savings if they car share.

Looking at the liftshare website for the north-east, it seems easy to register.

Perhaps with a bit more publicity this year there will be an increase from the current 400,000 members by the next liftshare week.


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