Hi, I'm Roland Strube and I manage a community transport operator called Hayfield Sustainable Transport Ltd (HSTL).
We are tackling loneliness by combining the transport needs of younger and older members of the community who have compatible need for a car.
In locations where public transport is poor and dependence on cars is high, people who don't have access to a car can be socially isolated and suffer from loneliness. This applies just as much to young people as it does to older people.
At the point when a young driver needs to buy a car and an older driver is about to stop driving, there is potential for them to combine their use of one car instead of owning two. When the older person stops driving they are able to travel as a liftshare passenger with any of the young drivers involved in the scheme. People are then able to access the friends, family and services they need more easily and more affordably. The intergenerational links formed in this process also help people to feel more connected and involved in their community.
Our online platform, Car Compatible, is currently used by couriers, who need a car on work days, joining up with commuters, who convert to cycling and use a car in the evenings and at weekends. The funds raised by this crowdfunding campaign will be used to build a version of Car Compatible that combines younger and older drivers, with the objective of alleviating loneliness.
The first job of Car Compatible works a bit like a dating app; users put details of their need for a car on the website's map. Local people whose car need is compatible can then find each other. By establishing their compatibility they will be confident that the shared car will be available when they need it.
Each car gets an online schedule, a trip logger and and the car's owner opens a new bank account that is dedicated to the car, e.g. Monzo. A pay-as-you-go (PAYG) rate is used that aims to cover the total cost of the car. At the end of each month there will either be a shortfall or surplus and this is distributed to the drivers according to the number of 'historic' miles they have driven the car from the very start of the arrangement. As only two or three drivers are involved with any one vehicle they can be added as additional drivers on the car's existing insurance. The difference in insurance risk/cost of the two drivers is managed by adjusting the PAYG rate for each driver.
This is project has three phases: Development, demonstration and roll out.
- Website: Setting up a version of Car Compatible's courier and commuters website that is specific to younger and older drivers. This will involve improvements to the Compat-ble platform, which powers Car Compatible.
- HSTL will demonstrate the use of Car Compatible in its own local community of Hayfield in Derbyshire. We already have a lot of experience providing community minibus transport to the people who are our target users:
- Many local community organisations will be involved including the WI, residents of sheltered housing, the Volunteer Centre in nearby New Mills and local sport clubs.
3. Roll out
- In the demonstration phase, HSTL will play the roll of a 'Transport Broker'. To roll out the project, we will be asking people and organisations in other communities to be Transport Brokers and promote the use of Car Compatible to people who they think might be able to share car use. This can be as big or as small a job as they want.
- Transport Brokers will need to set their community up on the Car Compatible website as a target location.
- Reward: Target location One of the rewards for Supporters of the project is to set up a target location of their choice on the new site. They will be able to use this to be a Transport Broker.
The BBC Loneliness Experiment & the ONS report, Circumstances & Characteristics of Loneliness, found that 16 to 24 year olds felt lonely more often than any other age group, with 10% saying that they felt lonely ‘always or often’.
Age UK’s ‘Loneliness in later life’ report and the ONS’s General Lifestyle Survey, conclude that half of people aged 75 and over live alone and say they would like to get out more often.
Private cars prevent many social encounters at a local level, as described by this letter to The Guardian, July 16 2021.
"…… Almost everyone else is only ever seen stepping from their front door to their car, parked a couple of feet away in what was the front garden, driving off, and then returning later to scuttle from car to front door. Few people walk to the local shops. One 88-year-old resident I chatted to at a community event confirmed this impression. When I asked why she didn’t know as many people in the street as she had in the past, she gave a one-word answer: 'Cars'.” -- Isabella Stone, Sheffield