CAR POOL MEETING by Cionnaith O’Suilleabhain
It was a case of quality rather than quantity of people at last weeks public meeting on the topic of Car Pooling in Clonakilty which was organised by the Transport Sub Group of Sustainable Clonakilty, but those who attended agreed it was well worthwhile and a follow up meeting is to take place in a few weeks.
The meeting heard from two locals working at different places near Cork City who are already car sharing, and the benefits to their pockets. There was also a presentation by Alan Lowney of Lowney Coaches and Mini Bus Services about the possibility of setting up a town school mini bus service as a way of getting cars off the roads at busy times and ensuring people get to work and schools on time.
The meeting opened with Peter Madden Chair of Sustainable Clon giving a general overview of the organisation and appealing for members. Allison Roberts, one of the main people in the Transport Sub Group then outlined the background to the meeting. She recommended that people register with the www.carsharing.ie website, which was set up by the government a few months ago.
Local man Diarmuid Cregan outlined his experience of travelling to a workplace near Cork City every day, and meeting many others going along the same routes as him. After a time, they got to know each other and himself and two others now car share. “I am saving €100 every three weeks on petrol alone, not to mind all the other not so obvious costs like wear and tear, etc.”, he explained. The company he works for encourage this type of motivation and there were many other benefits other than the economic, he told the meeting.
Angela Larkin is another person living in Clonakilty but working in Cork. In here situation she shares the first three days of each week, and has independence of Thursdays and Fridays. She had done some calculations, and suggested that with an average car, a person travelling to a workplace in Cork from Clonakilty uses about €2,700 in fuel, and when all other costs are added in, the total comes to around €8,000/year. She recommended that people log onto the AA website where a calculation form can be filled up to give a cost of trips.
As well a saving on fuel costs, car pooling to Cork also cuts down on parking charges, and if one goes to sell their car the mileage is lower. Both speakers encouraged others to organise in their workplaces.
Alan Lowney then spoke on the issue of traffic gridlock on school routes since the summer holidays ended. He said that he would be prepared to try on a pilot basis running a mini bus service on a specific route to take children from estates in the town to the local schools. The more people that would get involved, the cheaper it would be per person.
It was suggested from the floor that certain areas be leafleted, and that the Residents Associations and Parents Associations in the Schools should raise the matter at their respective meetings. An interesting question and answer session followed, with issues like insurance being raised. Before the meeting, a local Insurance Broker had advised the organisers that once there was no monetary gain for the driver, car pooling was the same as giving a relative a lift.
The group decided to meet again in a few weeks and follow up on the suggestions aired at the meeting. In the meantime, any interested people should join the “Sustainable Clonakilty Transport Group” Facebook page to be kept up the date, or ring 085-7574338.