The Ride Share Working Group (RSWG) was formed in November 2012 in response to calls by journey sharing (car sharing) stakeholders for an industry standards body. Specifically, members of the journey sharing sector and commissioning groups called for a body that could offer an assurance and accreditation process as well as industry data about its effectiveness.
For some time, members of the journey sharing sector and commissioning groups, such as transport authorities, have been concerned about the lack of a common approach to issues raised about the sector. The establishment of a journey sharing standards body has been under discussion with key stakeholders, such as TfL and DfT, since 2009.
In 2011, the Coalition government opted out of a commitment by Labour to jointly support, with Transport for London, a closer look at accreditation, data collection and reporting within journey sharing. However, when Carplus subsequently met with representatives of the journey sharing sector and the new transport minister, Norman Baker MP, they found that there was still significant interest in undertaking a sector-led initiative involving service providers.
This interest was reiterated by new Carplus members at the Carplus AGM in October 2012 as well as by ACT Travelwise members responding to an online feature in November 2012. In late November, following approval from the Carplus board, the RSWG was established and its inaugural meeting took place.
The need for credible, verified data showing the cost effectiveness of area or regional schemes has been a central issue for stakeholders. There is also a need to promote safeguards in both open (area) schemes and closed (employer or affinity) schemes. Current moves to establish a standards body for this sector are based on the assumption that this will help to expand support and public involvement in journey sharing and other 2+ incentives in parking and road space.
The working group will therefore be looking at the development of a standardised approach to:
- reporting and monitoring data, including safeguarding and privacy of scheme users
- reporting on the modal and behavioural impacts of journey sharing
This will require service providers and commissioning groups to come together to agree on a way forward.
Review of Current Practice
The RSWG has undertaken a review of existing operational standards and practices amongst journey sharing service providers and has published an interim report of proposals for working towards a standardised process.
On 25th April, a consultation event, ‘The Future of Journey Sharing’, took place at Google Campus, London to discuss the findings in the Carplus report. Journey sharing service providers, commissioning bodies and users attending this event also had the opportunity to hear presentations and participate in live debates on the issues identified in the report from key stakeholders, including Transport for London.
Presentations from the event can be found on the Carplus event page.
Additional opportunities for comment on the report followed the event, including a second round of online stakeholder surveys and an invitation to provide open feedback verbally or in writing.
The consultation period has now closed. Submissions are currently being collated and reviewed and a final report is now being prepared.