What sum of money would you need to be paid in order to give up driving your car and rely entirely on public transportation? A trial program in England is hoping that figure is $3900 (£3,000).
According to Auto Express (citing a report in The Times), the British government is planning to implement a pilot program that would offer motorists in England between $2,600 and $3,900 every year to spend on various forms of public transit, including electric-car- and e-bike-sharing.
Of course, the government wouldn’t simply be mailing participants checks. Rather, members of the program would receive a card loaded with funds redeemable with environmentally friendly modes of transportation — i.e. not their internal-combustion cars.
The program is a part of a $26-million scheme to determine at what price point drivers would jettison their personal cars and adopt a shared transportation lifestyle.
It’s a small-scale study, including just 100 drivers. However, if it’s deemed successful, it could be expanded across 12 councils.
If fully implemented, taxpayers would fund drivers giving up their cars for public transport. Future funds, to supplant those coming from taxpayers, would eventually be sought from private companies, including carmakers, and bus and train operators.
A bus company paying you to leave your car at home and take one of its buses to work instead isn’t as insane as it sounds. Likely, those companies would offset the cost of paying its riders by gleaning revenue from services they offer to those customers. Think watching exclusive Netflix content offered only on a certain bus line, for example.
It is an interesting potential solution to a dilemma facing the most heavily populated municipalities around the globe: How do you convert car drivers into eco-friendly public transit users? Ignoring the funding predicament, paying them is the simplest solution.
No matter who pays drivers to switch from cars to public transit, the program highlights a fact of the coming mobility movement: The way you move around inside cities is going to change. So, too, are your transportation habits. We all need to decide what that shift is worth — and to whom.