back to article DfT magicians conjure a nation of car sharers

We are an environmentally conscious nation of car sharers, apparently. Or so the casual browser might conclude from a Department for Transport announcement claiming new research highlights "the popularity of car sharing." Sadly, predictably, all is not as it seems. According to the announcement a hefty 61 per cent of those …


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  1. dervheid

    Who foots the bill...

    "There are Lies, Damned Lies and then there are Statistics"

    ...for this drivel from the DfT?

    That'd be us. Again.

    People don't car share because;

    It's not convenient.

    Neither is the apology for a 'public transport system' we have in this country.

    Maybe the DfT should pay more attention to that.

  2. Steven Griffiths
    Thumb Down


    Is there a single member of any UK Government department that has a clue of...

    A: What the hell they're talking about.

    B: How transparent most of the bullshit they come out with is?

  3. David Harper

    @Stephen Griffiths

    No, and No.

  4. b166er

    Better ways

    Why not force car manufacturers to limit their cars to 20, 30 and 40 mph in their respective zones? Cost passed to manufacturer/consumer (wouldn't be too expensive, link GPS to ECU).

    And have mandatory 3 monthly emission checks? The amount of vehicles I see belching out the most foul clouds of noxious fumes, quite simply they shouldn't be on the road. A fair proportion of which are public service vehicles.

    Finally, add the price of purchasing and sustaining an area of rain-forest of a size large enough to offset the carbon footprint of the car for 10 years, to the cost of the car. (between 500 and 1000 pounds added to the cost of a 2.2 diesel mondeo doing 20000 miles per annum)

    Yep, this dust is magic

  5. Paul Corbett


    I drive into work everyday, everyday my wife goes in the Car with me as we both work in Leeds. For 3 years we tried the Bus and Train and left the car at home, we bought our house because it was VERY close to the Bus & Train station and i work close to the Train station/Bus station.

    The Trains where always full and usually would have just 1-2 carriages despite the regular 1-2 carriages of people just at my station, we used to wait for the train, watch the comedy of people trying to get on then go for the Bus.

    Once i managed to get on the train and was amused at the next station as the train stopped and the guard opened the doors to tell the people waiting they couldn't get on for safety reasons as it was too crowded - including the poor fool from my station who fell off the train when the doors opened, we left him there !

    Trains - no seats, no chance to get on even without a seat.

    Bus - get a seat but its cheaper to use my car and quicker and less smelly and chewing gummy on my trousers.

    FIX PUBLIC TRANSPORT, I DON'T WANT TO CAR SHARE I WANT TO GET RID OF MY DAMN CAR!!!!!!, the petrol cost is stupid, the road tax is stupid, i hate idiots in front/behind/side of me on the phone/smoking instead of paying attention. I hate trying to keep a safe gap in front of me while the idiot behind me is trying to read the small print on my brake lights, then watching 3 idiots jump in my safe gap and brake hard as they try to get off at the next junction 30 yards ahead.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Car sharing,

    Long before enduring london public transport (marginally less inconvenient than taking the car for my journey, massively more expensive) we tried car sharing, actually more i drive and others share but i digress the main reasons for its failure were

    1. Having people hanging around your desk when they wanted to leave

    2. Having to hang around others desks when you wanted to leave

    3. Hanging around outside the tube station (the arranged meeting point) thinking they've got to be on the next one only to find out they weren't going in, a text or call was a bit much effort

    4. it was around £40 a week in fuel, getting a fiver every month or two considering what was being saved on travel cards was a bit cheeky

    5. Having silent journeys when you raise point 4

  7. Anonymous Coward

    A lost opportunity?

    I hope they included people learning to drive in their statistics oh and maybe taxis also!

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Oh, and

    Will BPI/RIAA sue the car sharers like the do with file sharers? Unlicenced public performance of music. Time to lobby for a levy on all car owners.

  9. N

    Another case of tweak the numbers until...

    As with all government statistics the only thing thats clear is the fact theyve bent the statistics until it fits the case.

    like Inflation is 2.5% ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I find it hard to share my transport...

    .....not many people have their own helmet for going pillion. Its a sod when (not often) there is an attractive svelt hitchhiker.

    So am I being environmentally considerate for using a less poluting form of transport, or inconsiderate for not sharing the benefits of motorcycling (other than by reducing congestion for 3rd parties)?

    Please tell me, as a NuLabour subject I can't (as in not allowed to) make up my own mind.

  11. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    Nice, but what happens if all four owners have the same holiday and they all want to go in for different directions at the same time ?

    Does everyone get to ride a unicycle in the direction of choice ?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I will car share

    If anyone I know works the same hours as me and is travelling to the same place.

    <Looks aound> Nope no one.

    I could use public transport, but don't fancy my journey time going from >1hr per day to 5hrs+ (if the trains turn up!)

  13. Frank Bough

    Replace DfT with Me

    Myself and my wife commute into London every day together by car. It's cheaper than taking the train/tube, more comfortable and more reliable. It's also quicker at ANY time other than the morning rush hour. So, if anyone from the DfT is reading this, we'd welcome a car sharing lane on the A40, and the whole world would welcome a car sharing lane to replace the useless M4 bus lane.

    A taxi, of course, wouldn't be making its journey if it wasn't for the punter, so access to a car share lane should not be allowed for single passenger cabs. Empty buses would also be excluded.

    Honestly, put me in charge of the roads and see what happens - I'll get this place moving again.

  14. JK

    Business as usual

    In every other aspect of running the country, this government has learned that the easiest way to achieve it's own targets, is to wait a bit and then move the target, or change the way it's measured. So it's hardly surprising that they're now applying this same sleight-of-hand to the green stuff. What IS surprising is that they still believe that no-one has noticed.

    "Pay no attention to that statistic fiddling weasel behind the curtain"

  15. Dave


    My main problem with car sharing is that with the modern trend for flexible working hours, no one who lives near me works similar-enough hours. I used to car-share as a student and then at the job immediately after that, because we had to be in for 8:30am and the factory bell went at 5pm and they didn't pay overtime (so we didn't do it).

  16. Anonymous Coward

    that's ok then

    So, so long as I ensure we go out to the pub on friday a month (which inevitably involves deployment of multi-occupance people transportation devices) then I can happily drive out to the "business park" here everyday knowing I'm doing my bit! Looks like I've got my excuse to delay getting my bike out again!

  17. Oli


    I think these are the same guys who published a little while ago that they predicted petrol prices would fall from almost $100/barrel to about $35, taking prices here back to about 70p/litre from over a pound, where they were around 2004, and they're gonna stay there till about 2020.

    That report was then used by every other dept to stick two fingers up at trams, train rolling stock, new train lines, more busses and get on with massive investment in roads, which predicts traffic will go right up as the cost of motoring drops...

    Lies indeed, but to line who's pockets?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    *Better Ways By b166er*

    You are really living in cloud cuckoo land or an eco warrier to think that the vast majority of the drivers could afford your suggestions of "Better Ways."

    Doing this would require updated procedures, policies and framework, let alone a huge IT budget for companies such as "DoLittle and Touchup", "Crapita" and "EDS" to completely mess up and demand more money from the tax payer.

    That would mean that if you abandoned your car, if you have one anyway, you will end up paying, at least something, for me own mine.

  19. Frank Bough


    "get on with massive investment in roads"

    This is a practical joke, right? You kidder, you!

  20. Anton Ivanov

    Problem is deep rooted

    The root cause is that there is noone to share it with. The average size of a UK company has been steadily decreasing as manufacturing moves overseas.

    In a company of 2000 it is easy to find someone who lives in your area to car share with. In a company of 200 this becomes less likely. In a company of 20 everyone lives in his own bit of suburbia and travels alone. So we can all guess how many people actually car share in a business park which has 200 companies of 20-40 people each.

    Car-sharing cannot do anything about all this. It is a matter of simple probability and statistics. The only way to solve this is to provide businessparks with proper commuter transport - trams hooked to mainline rail, fast buses to closest mailine rail station and other suitable commuter transport. The government is doing nothing about it. Business parks are the last in line to get public transport access and even if they get it, it is the "stop at every mushroom" local bus which noone working for a living will use to get to work.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Hipocrisy, the drug of the party

    The oil price argument is also used as an excuse not to electrify our railway network "The case for electrification is not proven", Darling said when he was transport secretary, so much for Labours so called green credentials, Darling also prevented expansion in most tram schemes, except for one, Edinburgh, his own constituency, so hipocrisy is the order of the day from our glorious leader and his acolytes, what I want to know is how will they check car sharing when flying cars arrive?? Probably rfid chips implanted in everybody instead of id cards.....

    BTW I chose Paris as only blondes could believe this bs...

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @ No seats - Paul Corbett

    If you and your wife got out of bed at a decent time, you'd get a seat. I have a choice of several double-seats when I head into work on the train. ;)

  23. Keith Williams

    @Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    I don't know about the UK but in Canada its not an unlicensed public performance unless there are 5 or more people OR you are an auto mechanic who likes to listen to the radio while he works and other people MIGHT also hear it.

  24. Chris
    Thumb Down

    As I recall...

    ...the last thing I heard on the 'car sharing' front was quite a while back - 20-25 years maybe?

    At the time I recall car sharing was being highly recommended (tree huggers? Labour government?).

    And, money being a bit tight at that time (Labour government...) quite a few of us were interested...

    Then what happened?

    In stepped the Police (does your insurance cover this - sir?)

    And the Tax man ((you DO know that any contributions toward your running costs MUST be declared for tax assessment purposes - sir?)

    And so the government effectively crushed the idea. Which is exactly what they'll do again, should the chance arise. Car sharing is a pointless idea without joined up government - and we don't DO joined up government.

    To be honest, I don't think any nation does joined up government...

    However, plenty of nations do affordable, reliable, reasonably safe and clean public transport that runs when people need it - and THAT'S the problem in the UK. Not airy-fairy ideas like car sharing!

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Otway

    "If you and your wife got out of bed at a decent time, you'd get a seat. I have a choice of several double-seats when I head into work on the train. ;)"

    You must both work an unusual shift....

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    If Italy of all places can do it...

    Italy has an absolutely superb public transport system. Clean, on time (unlike most Italians!) and CHEAP! 250kms by train for 5 of us last summer was around £45! Costs me more than that from here to Leeds for just me! Busses are frequent and cheap too.

    Give me that and I'd happily leave my car at home. But no - we get price hike after price hike and dirty, late, inefficient trains. eg. 5 of us by car to me mum's in Croydon, S London and back - 3/4 tank in the Scenic - so around £40. Stop when we like, music we like, door to door, no messing. Train? 3 kids - across London - forget it! Life's too short. And I'd need a mortgage for the fares!

    Until the public transport in this country is usable as in Europe then the government won't win. If they price us off the roads the country will grind to a halt. They're already pricing us off the trains! Give us some carrots, not beat us with sticks!

  27. Karl Lattimer


    the lines of mums with one kid in the car are going to come to an end?

    but mums love their 4x4s they make them feel so safe and look so menacing!

  28. Neil


    I car share with my 2-yr old niece quite a lot. I think next time she can drive her own car.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    @Problem is deep rooted

    Yep, thats pretty describes the issue here. Mind you the bus that calls at the business park where I work is usually packed with the Elbonians we are having to train so that our jobs can be offshored. The government will have be pleased to have one less car on the road in a few months time as I won't be able to afford to keep it once my job goes east.

    Posted AC as I want my redundancy payoff.

  30. Danny Thompson
    Dead Vulture

    What is so encouraging and filling me with hope is .....

    ..... that there is not one single UK Political Party that has so much as uttered a suggestion that they can fix the UK's futile Transport Policy - as much as we even have one. All parties will play to the vested interests of business - ignoring that public transport cannot work to market forces and still provide a public service. The two are mutually exclusive, our predecessors knew that, as does most of the rest of the world. I'm no Nu-Labour tree-hugger nationalise-everything ex-hippy, but even I can see that the incumbent model does not and can never work. But who can we vote in to solve the issues - there no one! And so we'll go on like this forever and a day.

    Politically, there is no incentive to actually do something. Too much money is being plundered from the private-owned transport companies and private motorists in taxes. How many billions is it each year? And how much of that is ploughed back into any kind of public transport service - zero would be the answer. Instead it is squandered in ways that only this government can - and no doubt its successor will.

    What we really need is a full-scale revolution, with politicians heads on pikes on London Bridge. Perhaps we could even import Mme Guillotine from our friends across the channel - Eurostar would get it close enough to be drawn by horse and cart from Paddington. And lets chuck in a few good old fashioned hangings too. Until and unless these Politicians remember that they work for us, not us for them, we'll be doomed to continued opression for ever more.....

    The dead and bleeding Vulture because the UK is also but just doesn't realise it yet.

  31. Dave


    I think the insurance and tax objections have been largely removed now - I think my car insurance covers me for receiving money for a car-share to assist with fuel costs (after all, the insurance companies benefit if half the cars stay at home, less risk for the same money) and I think the taxman had an attack of common sense and decided that pro-rata contributions were just fine as there wasn't any profit being made. I know that when I used to car share, no money changed hands, we just took it in turns to drive.

  32. James

    Car Sharing a Pipe Dream

    No-one at work lives anywhere near me. No-one at work actually keeps the same hours as I do (I acknowledge that as someone working in academia that is possibly unusual).

    Public transport from my home to my pace of work takes 2 hours and is hardly reliable or predictable. Driving (at an average 45mpg) takes just 25 minutes. Unless etiher my emplyer or the department for transport is prepared to up my salary by 11/8 to pay for my time commuting above that used by car then I will drive solo to work. Doing this is still cheaper in my diesel car than using the travesty the politicians call a pubic transport "service"

    I won't even *start* on the reasons why a private car is so vastly more pleasant than a filthy train/bus..... :P

  33. Jeremy Wickins

    Flexible working stuffs the need to car share...

    ... because I just arrange to get into work (when I need to go) in plenty of time, giving me time to check e-mails, etc (like an earlier contributor, I too work in the ivory tower). I can then decide when to go home (sometimes even popping into a cafe/pub for a non-alcoholic relaxer) allowing the clones to piss off home and out of my way.

    With regard to cost, the petrol for my Subaru Legacy estate (and I get around 27 to the gallon) is cheaper than the public transport costs, which would take three changes, either bus, train, or tram. Also, the time saved is more than significant - 30-45 minutes in the car in the morning, usually less in the evening (12.5 mile journey). On public transport, the morning trip is about 1.5 hours (if everything runs), and in the evening it is about 2.5 hours (thanks to the bus to my house from the interchange conveniently running once an hour after 6pm, and leaving 5 minutes before either the bus or the train gets in from the city in which I work).

    In actual fact, I do appreciate that public transport will always be slower than personal transport, but it could be better. I spend a lot of time abroad, especially in one of the ex-Iron Curtain countries, and the public transport is just wonderful - cheap, on time, frequent, and regular, especially around cities. There is even building of new lines going on (as in many EU countries)!!!! What we did to deserve the heap of crap we have now, I don't know, but I'll vote for the first party that pledges to re-nationalise the railways, build new lines and buy new rolling stock, let councils have control of the buses again, oh, and insist that large containers of goods are not carried on the roads. That is a promise!!

  34. Ishkandar

    I keep offering to share my car with that sexy thing across the road....

    ....but she keeps running away screaming !!

    Oh well, not for a want of trying !!

  35. Anonymous Coward

    New Labours Ten Year Transport Plan?

    remember the brave new world that Labour Promised when it came to power

    trains, busses, links and what not's.......

    by now we should have been living in transport utopia, instead or the Orwellian Dystopia we now suffer,

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Tax the car owners off the road!

    if the government upped the tax on cars and fuels to levels of unacceptable cost their (labour) voters would kick them out!

    as with teh C-charge, yes people moan but most can easliy afford to pay it? Or are cleveer enough to find the loop hole and get their porsches and 4x4 registered as taxis (go on admit it, smart move)

    afterall - how many people who work in macdonalds in central london drive to work!?

    Therefore undertake the vote winning act of taxing the poor off the road, afterall its only middle class do gooders and students who have the luxuary of being green, the poor as usual have to put up with the status quo....

    this done, as a moderatly wealthy self employed middle class type I could give up my seat on the train for someone and I would have clear roads to get to work in a timely and pleasant fashion! Yes, I could shop at ASDA/walmart but I choose to pay the consumer tax and shop at waitrose for reasons that anyone who has paid a visit to the two respectice establishments will know! - low prices are not everything!

    The other issue is about failed social engineering of previous govenrnments. lets take governement departments and put them in bleak hellholes around the country.... Cumbernald, Telford, Swindon, Croydon, Northhampton to name but a few of these new towns or investment zones, then move everyone out to these motorist pradises encourage the use of cars and then 20 years later impose puntive actions on those who use cars in towns optimised for motor transport, whilst failing to provide busses or alternatives.... thr commercial buses wont run to middle class estates as they all have cars and thier is no demand, or the busses take an "inclusive" route through the estates at all social strata ensuring that eave buss ride is like a friday night in croydon or cumbernald! - as it would not be politcally correct to have a licenesed "executive" coaching service running from the nice parts of town into the business zones. no that would tick the councils policy of inclusivity.

    also, the siting of these government departments in meant to seed the local economy, what appears to happen is that the Civil Servants move out of london selling their small hovel like flats and buy big detached houses on the edge of town where the buses dont run. The outsorucers which the government then invariably hires move in and do like wise. The locals are stuck in ther local authroity or social housing as they cant get jobs in the new government department except for a few admin jobs, so they end up working in the new stores and coffe bars set up to support the incomers.

    did i mention car sharing?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    So if two people drive an hour into work thats bad.

    but if another person, first drives an hour across london to pick up the other person and then they both drive another hour into london that is better?

    of course ministers always drive in multi occupancy vehicles, they have that bloke up fron drving whilst they sit in the back seat whacked off thier heads thinking up crazy ideas?

    then the secuirty team in the car following the minsters car will also have mulitoccupancy as there will be a few of the mets finest in that too!

    nice to see them setting a good example for a change!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    MPs, Senior Civil Servants.

    Time they all traveled in "Standard Class" and had their chauffeur driven cars removed. Until likes of Westminster travel with the people they claim to represent there will be no improvement of public transport.

  39. Perpetual Cyclist

    I used to car share

    It worked quite well for a couple of years, but then we were five techie blokes working in the same research lab and sharing a rented house. Limited appeal to the general public. Of course I commute by bicycle now.

    Car sharing is inconvenient, but it will increase. Oil is $90 /barrel one reason only. There is not enough to go around. Recessions aside , the price will simply increase until it is high enough to choke off demand, because the supply is finite, stalled at 85M barrels a day globally, and likely to fall in the near future, permanently and remorselessly. Demand has been growing exponentially, and now we are in direct competition with China and India for oil, and they have far healthier economies than we do. We (and the USA) will be priced out of the market. That will lead to irreversible recession in our national economies as without cheap, dense, portable energy supplies our GDP cannot grow.

    Have you noticed we seem to be heading into a recession? Better get used to it.

  40. Mark


    Well, it WAS a Tonka!

    Aye, that's m'coat...

  41. Carl

    @Mark Otway

    Don't you live in Edinburgh now though?

    Anyway, if everyone did like you and turned up at the station early we'd be back in square 1...

  42. N
    Thumb Down

    Share? What sharing?

    People are far too selfish with their cars to share.

    The ME ME ME generations extend to just a decade after cars were first mass produced.

    Cars are now viewed as a right - not a privilidge and those that have don't want to share.

    My SO is bothered even by the fact that I ask for a lift to go shopping for the groceries he eats and that I pay for.

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