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Hitch-hiking, carpooling and hopping, alternative work transport

Thursday 07 Aug 2008 12:00a.m.

Hitch-hiking, carpooling and hopping, alternative work transport

With petrol prices at an all time high and the pressure on to reduce our carbon footprint, more and more people are looking at ways to give up their cars or at least use them less.

Public transport is an obvious option but there are other, more inventive ways, to save petrol and maybe even the planet.

Gary Lister has gladly given up his daily commute from Devonport to Auckland for a cruise across the harbour and a short walk to work.
When he needs to drive during the day he uses a car share scheme called City Hop.

He says: “it means I can catch the ferry every day, which is much more human and much more pleasant and it's reduced our carbon footprint".

City Hop cars are dotted around Auckland's inner city car parks.  Members pay $75 to join up for a year which gives them access to any car for $13.50 per hour.  You just book online, swipe to unlock the engine and drive.

Gavin’s company is so serious about its carbon footprint it even has an office bike for meetings around the city.

As an urban designer, Gavin has some insight into why it is so hard to get people to give up their cars.

“I think it’s mainly habit, I think once you get into the habit of driving a car that's just what you do, it just takes something to break that cycle.”

The City Hop scheme is based on a number of overseas car shares where studies show one share car takes 15 privately owned vehicles off the road. 

City Hop is hoping for the same impact here with 25 cars in Auckland, three in Wellington and plans to park up in Christchurch very soon.

Another alternative is taking a ride with strangers - the safe way.

At, environmentally minded travellers can get in touch to car pool to work, between towns, or even up to the ski fields.

It is free and popular with more than 1000 members in just over a year.

But Nicola, Ainsley and Sarah are no strangers, they carpool every day to work at Auckland Airport.

Like a growing number of businesses, the airport is doing its bit to get its 12,000 employees to share transport to and from work.

The scheme is called LIFT- It helps staff find other people to catch a ride with.

Twenty different companies and organisations, from MAF to Duty Free shops, are on board.  Nearly 600 permits have been given out.

And there is a perk - carpoolers get priority carparks, which means a close walk to the terminal.

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