How to set up a liftshare scheme

What is a liftshare scheme?

Liftshare schemes (also known as carshares or ride shares) match people who are travelling to the same place so they can share a car journey. This could be a regular journey, such as a work commute, or a one-off journey to a nearby event.

It is illegal to profit from a liftshare scheme, but drivers may:

  • provide free travel
  • share journey costs (fuel, parking) between passengers
  • accept a small donation towards travel costs
  • take it in turns to drive (where multiple passengers own their own vehicles)
When is a liftshare scheme suitable?

Liftshare schemes are suitable for journeys which are made to the same destination at the same time, such as:

  • work commutes
  • school runs
  • weekly shopping trips

A liftshare scheme:

  • provides transport for those without their own vehicle
  • allows drivers to save money by sharing travel costs
  • helps to reduce traffic congestion and pollution

If you want to organise specific journeys, you may want to set up a voluntary car scheme.

Promoting a Hants Carshare scheme

Hampshire runs its own liftshare scheme, Hants Carshare.

  • Anyone can join for free. You need to register with your email address or Facebook account.
  • The more people who join and submit journeys, the greater the chances of a liftshare match.
  • Parish Councils and local organisations can promote the service in their community.
Setting up a liftshare scheme

Setting up a liftshare scheme in your community could work well if you focus on one or two destinations. For example, an evening trip to an entertainment venue, or town trips on market day.

Starting small and staying focused makes it easier for members to notify your scheme when they are planning to travel.

  • Establish a membership process with member profiles (gender, age group, etc.)
  • Provide a way for members to advertise which journeys they are taking, and for other members to indicate their interest in sharing the journey. This could be a public notice board or an online calendar.
  • Most schemes will need a coordinator to share the contact details of matched members.

Right to refuse

Individuals can refuse to share a journey for any reason. For example:

  • a female driver may not want to share with a male passenger for safety reasons
  • a passenger may be uncomfortable with a member's driving style

You should be sensitive to people's preferences, especially in a small community. Provide a way for people to turn down a liftshare request if they choose.

Next steps
  • Gather local support
  • Choose the type of liftshare scheme you want
  • Create a way for members to register journeys (if applicable)
Further advice

Hampshire County Council

Community Transport team
Economy, Transport and Environment Department

Phone: 01962 846785
Email: community.transport@hants.gov.uk

Como UK

Phone: 0113 373 1757
Email: info@como.org.uk

Case study
Hants Carshare (a user's perspective)

Eli Bruetschy and Andrew Coombes both work at Hampshire County Council. They have been car sharing to Winchester since 2007.

How did Hants Carshare help you to set up a liftshare arrangement?

The site made it easy for us to find potential car share partners. Contact is confidential, and there is plenty of advice.

How does sharing your car journey to the office work for you?

We share our journey two to four times a week, one person driving one week, one person the other. We are flexible about this. Sometimes we arrange to go early, or leave late.

Are there any other advantages of sharing?

Liftsharing is a way of sharing the strain of driving after a day in the office, and allowing the passenger to just relax! It is also a sociable way of contributing to a greener environment. It helps reduce congestion, pollution, and the need for parking spaces. Car sharing is a way of helping everybody.

What would you say to anyone thinking of sharing a journey?

Give it a go! You have nothing to lose, lots to gain. Don't feel obliged. You don't have to share every day, every week. Do keep in touch. It's easy to fall out of the habit. Be honest with your car share partner. If it’s not working for you, say so.