Why car share? Well, Dorset is an attractive county to retire to – but there comes a time for many people when they have to give up driving. And then one of the harsh facts of rural life in the 21st century becomes a big problem. No public transport.
Add to that the likelihood of no shop, no health centre, pharmacy or GP surgery, a gastro-pub rather than a village local (and quite possibly neither), certainly no bank, maybe not even a village hall or regular church service – so what do you do? If you are computer savvy, you can do your banking online and order your groceries via one of the supermarket on-line services or a local food producers network – but you will have to travel to access the other services.
For many older people, the reality of giving up driving is a brutal choice between isolation or leaving their home to move to an urban or suburban area with the necessary services and facilities. One practical option, if you want to stay in your home and be part of the community, and be able to get to local towns for health or social services, bank, shops, theatres, sports facilities … is car sharing. There are a number of organisations in Dorset which provide car sharing services and advice:
Liftshare – there is no joining fee; you save money on fuel, running costs, etc, and you contribute to cutting congestion and pollution. More information:
Dorset Car Share – this county-wide scheme is primarily focused on providing commuters with the opportunity to meet others travelling similar journeys to promote taking a single vehicle between them, rather than one each. As part of the verification process, there is a £5 per annum charge from your credit card.
Country Car Scheme – this is based in and operates in West Dorset, and offers a valuable service for local people who are not able to use public transport or have no other means of transport. The service can be used to visit the doctor, dentist, clinic, or chiropodist. for hospital appointments and to visit relatives and friends in hospital, to collect prescriptions, to connect with bus, coach or rail services, or other essential trips for which there is no reasonable alternative means of transport
Car sharing reality – three friends, two cars
THREE friends in a small town to the north of Dorset have devised their own unique car sharing scheme. The couple, C and P, have two cars but only one off-road parking space. Their 84-year old friend W, who has safe off-road parking, had given up her car because the insurance had become too expensive (more than £1,000), which seemed unfair for someone who had NEVER had even a speeding fine, let alone an accident.
C and P sometimes need both their cars, but can often manage with one, a sporty cabriolet. W had recently had a second hip-replacement operation and found the other car, a practical run-about hatchback, more comfortable, easy to park and ideal for her occasional, local use. Problem solved. W pays the monthly additional fee for a third driver and now has a car she likes, parked at the end of her garden, economical to drive, and at a fraction of the cost of her own car. C and P have safe parking for their second car, and the flexibility to have it when they need it.
It might not work for many people, but it is an example of how creative thinking can help an older person to keep mobile while not having the expense and worry of their own car.