Hospital staff sign-up to car sharing scheme

Two Blackburn-based dietitians have become the first to start using a new staff car sharing scheme.

Dietitian Hannah Bowness and manager Tracey Hugill signed-up to the Royal Blackburn Hospital Liftshare service, an online car sharing database available to all staff.

As part of the new scheme, dedicated car parking spaces are being set aside for Trust staff, specifically for car sharers.

The new resource has been launched in a bid to help relieve car parking and reduce traffic congestion around the hospital.

It could also help staff save hundreds of pounds by cutting down on the cost of petrol.

Hannah and Tracey share their half an hour journey to and from work from Clitheroe.

Hannah, 24, said: “When we are working the same shift we share our journey, which is usually at least three times a week. We both have cars but take it in turns to drive each week.

“It works well for us and is helping to save money. We think it’s great that we have a dedicated car park space when we car share. It will help save car parking spaces if people start to do it more often.”

Tracey, 46, added: “It’s good to share your journey because you can have a chat on the way in and catch-up with things you don’t necessarily get time to do in work.

“I also cycle into work in the summer months, it takes longer but it’s a good way of getting in some exercise and also means I’m not sat in traffic.”

James Maguire, Head of Estates and Facilities at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The Trust aims to help reduce traffic congestion around the Royal Blackburn Hospital site and improve the travel experience for patients, staff and visitors.

“For staff, sharing their journey to work with a colleague will help them save money on petrol, will allow them to do their bit for the environment and will hopefully help ease parking pressures on the hospital site.”

The initative has been set-up by the CONNECT project, run by Blackburn with Darwen Council and signed-up to by East Lancashire Hospital Trust.

The government funded project works with  other major employers including Blackburn College and Capita to encourage people to use more sustainable transport and improve the borough’s travel infrastructure.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “It’s really encouraging to see people in the borough are sharing their journeys to and from work.

“Working in partnership with businesses to make it easier for people to travel sustainably is what CONNECT is all about.

“The knock on effect of a reduction in commuter traffic is that it will help ease the pressure on our road network allowing businesses to operate more effectively and people to get to their destinations quicker.”

The benefits of car sharing help to save you money, reduce car emissions and promote safety, especially in the darker winter months, ensuring you’re not walking to and from the car park alone.

People who share their journey also say it can be fun and is a way of making new friends or bonding with colleagues outside of work.

Natasha Meyers from Liftshare said: “We are delighted that the Trust are encouraging staff to car share.

“Organisations that promote car sharing report that the interaction between car sharing staff during commutes often enhances knowledge of other departments and promotes co-operation – benefitting the business as a whole.

“Where an organisation is undergoing change – such as the streamlining of offices or a move to a new site – a tailored liftshare scheme can also help to support employees who need new commuting options to a different work location.”

5 reasons to consider car sharing:

  • Regular car sharers save around £1000 a year in travel costs
  • You can meet new people
  • It’s cheaper than using public transport
  • You’re helping the environment
  • 27 million of the 33 million vehicles on UK roads are cars


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