Coast carpooling scheme a first for NZ

From Hibiscus Matters, Sept 15, 2010.  Read the original story here.

Hibiscus Coast commuters, fed up with delays, the cost of petrol, and the impact on the environment of their daily journeys in and out of Auckland are being offered a chance to become part of a pilot carpooling scheme.

The innovative system, known as Raspberry Rideshare, is to be trialled on the Hibiscus Coast with services to be launched next month.

Behind the scheme is Auckland business consultant Paul Minett, who says he came up with the idea one day more than 10 years ago as he sat in traffic.

The catalyst for introducing the scheme on the Coast was the allocation of dedicated parking spaces for carpoolers at Albany Bus Station from next month. From October 1, North Shore City Council is trialling a preferential parking scheme at Albany Bus Station, as well as Birkenhead and Devonport ferry wharves, which spokesperson Archer Davis says is “to increase the efficiency of the limited parking available by rewarding carpoolers”.

Initally 40 car parking spaces will be kept aside at the bus station, but the number will grow with demand and up to 89 spaces can be allocated. Any vehicle arriving with two or more passengers will be eligible to use one of the preferential spaces.

Mr Davis says North Shore casino pa natet City Council will promote Raspberry Rideshare, along with other carpooling methods such as Rodney District Council’s Take-a-Mate.

The Raspberry Rideshare system involves members gathering at a central location in Silverdale to carpool on their journey into the Albany Bus Station. Mr Minett is discussing with Rodney District Council the possibility of utilising the carpark in front of the former Silverdale Bowling Club for this.

People join the scheme by paying a $20 membership fee; members are screened to ensure safety and receive an ID card and user name. Each time you carpool, there is a small charge, and a ‘currency’ of ride credits is established with passengers sending a text message to the system quoting the user name of the driver. Ride credits go from each rider to the driver, who can use them to obtain future rides.

Mr Minett says ride credits can be traded on the system and also turned into cash, although most people will use them to carpool.

“The value of ride credits will be established by the market,” Mr Minett says. “It will be flexible and no doubt change over time.”

Mr Minett says the scheme is an inexpensive, but premium, way to carpool and will eventually include features such as a mobile coffee provider at the meeting place, a daily quiz and prize draws.

“The savings in terms of petrol costs and the environment are huge. In fact, we cannot afford not to carpool. It’s time we got smarter with our use of energy and resources.”

The idea was presented at a public meeting in Orewa this month, and received a positive reception. NZ Trade and Enterprise has also got behind the scheme, which may be offered in Australia and the United States.

Mr Minett says when a park n’ ride is built in Silverdale, the service may be adjusted to cater for those travelling into Silverdale from other places.

He says the next step may be putting pressure on NZ Transport Agency to allow carpoolers to use the bus lanes, a common practice overseas.

Mr Minett hopes Raspberry Rideshare can be launched on October 4, but needs 150 ‘pioneers’ to sign up as members first. Info: www.raspberryrideshare.com or ph 021 289 8444.

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2 Responses to Coast carpooling scheme a first for NZ

  1. Brian Nelson says:

    I don’t live on the Hibiscus Coast so that I can participate in this program, unfortunately. I don’t see how anyone can not think this to be a good idea – even those who don’t live in that area should send it to their friends…and they should send to their friends, too. If we support this program and help get the word out to Hibiscus Coast commuters, we lessen the number of cars on the road and we all benefit. Best of luck!!

  2. tracie sanchez says:

    hey paul, good to see you launched it. we met at CNU18 and i knew you were on to something. great article today on slugging in DC and references to SF too.
    check it out: http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture-society/slugging-the-peoples-transit-28068/
    ciao!

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