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Internet-Age Hitchhike Scheme Has Host Of Benefits

Friday 10 May 2002

An Internet-age hitchhike scheme with benefits for Dunedin’s environment, council and students was given an official thumbs-up by Energy Minister Pete Hodgson and Dunedin Mayor Sukhi Turner today.

The Internet-based Scarfie Rideshare scheme is reducing vehicle emissions by reducing the number of one-person car trips. It is also reducing congestion and relieving parking pressure.

Scarfie Rideshare was officially launched today with the Energy Minister and Mayor ridesharing to Otago Polytechnic in a Scarfie car. The Dunedin scheme has been running since May 2001 at Otago University, Otago Polytechnic and Dunedin College of Education. It was developed for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) to connect potential ‘ridesharers’.

The scheme has been running successfully at Lincoln University since 1998 and Canterbury University since 2001. Rideshare has reduced the number of staff and students driving alone to the Lincoln campus by 12 percent since 1997.

“I want New Zealanders to be energy-wise in their choice of transport as well as around their homes,” says Mr Hodgson. “Ridesharing achieves that but also gives Dunedin’s tertiary students and staff a cheap travel option and priority parking.”

“New Zealand’s climate change commitments demand innovative ways of reducing emissions and saving energy. Rideshare is the ‘grown-up’ version of another EECA transport initiative - the Walking School Bus for primary school pupils. The great thing about these EnergyWise programmes is that it is more convenient to use them,” Mr Hodgson said.

Mr Hodgson congratulated Dunedin’s City Council and student associations for supporting the Rideshare scheme. Community partnerships are crucial to the success of many EnergyWise programmes. As a Dunedin MP, Mr Hodgson noted with pleasure that so far this year Dunedin has 669 registered Rideshare users (up from 366 users in 2001) compared to only 142 this year at Canterbury University.

To check out the Rideshare website go to www.dunedinrideshare.co.nz
Other sites are www.canterbury.ac.nz/rideshare and www.lincoln.ac.nz/rideshare

Ends

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