County Council launches online hitch a lift scheme

Masham is about to have lift-off for its liftshare scheme, thanks to funding from North Yorkshire County Council.

Masham is about to have lift-off for its liftshare scheme, thanks to funding from North Yorkshire County Council.

The County Council is viewing this latest community transport initiative - which enables those needing to travel in the same direction to hook up with each other - as a pilot for other parts of the county.

The County Council is backing the scheme, which is being launched next week (18 May) through its Stronger Communities Fund.

People in the area are now invited to find out more through a drop-in event and presentation being held at Masham Town Hall on 18 May, 4-7pm. The presentation will be at 6pm.

Justine Brooksbank, the County Council's assistant chief executive, who lives in the Masham area, has championed the liftshare scheme for its potential to bring benefits to a wide range of people.

The County Council encourages all staff to take part in volunteering and allows them to take one paid day a year to engage in voluntary activity. Justine Brooksbank chose to spend her day in the Mashamshire Community Office and after talking to its staff, volunteers and customers it was clear that the need for more community transport was the number one priority. 

The community office had already done a transport survey which had flagged up the needs of young people in particular wanting to get to college or work. Justine came up with the idea of liftshare as a way of meeting a whole range of community transport requirements.

"Some people don't have a car and could do with lifts," she said. "Others, who have cars, might take it in turns to drive, saving money by leaving their car at home that day. It can work in several ways, but it's all about getting people together who make the same trips.

"Essentially it's a free matching service to all those who live, work or travel in and around Masham.

"Perhaps you need a lift to college or work, or to visit a relative, or you fancy a day's shopping trip. The beauty of this scheme," said Justine Brooksbank, "is you can choose to car share as little or as often as you like and it doesn't have to be on a regular basis. It can help reduce travel costs, reduce parking problems and help connect those with a car with those that don't. 

"Liftshare can also be a great way of networking, meeting new people and making new friends." The County Council is also creating a liftshare scheme for its own staff.

In a large, rural county like North Yorkshire, access to jobs and population centres is a critical issue. For this reason the County Council is supporting a whole range of community transport schemes and opportunities to help people move around the region and is treating the Masham scheme as a pilot for other parts of the county.

Tessa Klemz, manager of the Mashamshire Community Office, said she was delighted the County Council was helping to provide funds to get the scheme off the ground.  She said: "Liftshare is such a good idea and we are really hoping that with this support we can help people in the community to help each other to meet some of their transport needs."

People needing to register a request or offer of a lift should go to www.masham.liftshare.com

To find a lift share, users simply register for free and input their details, destination and time of departure, and how flexible on time they can be. The database then throws up other people in the same area making the same/similar journeys - and gets them together via email.

For more information contact Mashamshire Community Office, 01765 680 200 or email: info@visitmasham.com.

This story was published 11 May 2017