carpool20logo_webCarpooling. Everyone knows it’s a great idea and now nine local organisations have made it a reality.

Next Tuesday sees the launch of the Northern Rivers Carpool scheme at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus.

The University’s Lismore and SCU Riverside, Brent Street, Tweed Heads campuses have joined with Lismore City Council, Richmond Valley Council, Ballina Shire Council, Byron Shire Council, Clarence Valley Council, Tweed Shire Council, the North Coast Area Health Service and the North Coast Institute of TAFE to establish the region’s first official carpooling scheme.

While currently limited to employees and students of these organisations, it is anticipated that the scheme will be opened to the wider community during 2010.

The free online service for participating organisations presents a great way to save money and help the environment by sharing your journey, said Southern Cross University’s environmental sustainability officer, Kirsty Howton, pointing out that carpooling can save you time and money, reduce driving stress and wear and tear on the car, enable you to make new friends while giving you the opportunity to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Each organisation has designated pick-up and set-down points with branded road signs. There are also designated priority carpool spaces within organisation car parks.

“Carpooling even one day a week or to one event can make a lot of difference,” Kirsty said.

“We have had staff at three different schools of the University recently carpool to attend an event at Brisbane when they all would have normally gone in separate cars,” she said.

“Not only did it provide a great opportunity for the staff to meet and chat to staff members with whom they had not previously had any contact, but it was also a great way to effectively reduce the number of cars on the road from three to one.”

The Northern Rivers Carpool launch is being held on Tuesday, August 11, at 12pm in Goodman Plaza at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus.