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Car Sharing Tax Break Proposed

By raccars Published

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A government think-tank has proposed offering tax breaks to motorists who car share as part of a plan to promote worker mobility. The Policy Exchange report suggests that increasing the transport facilities available to workers would open up far better job opportunities.

The report considered how commuting could be made easier in eight urban areas in the South East and concluded that the ability to travel an extra 20 minutes by public transport would give workers access to another two major job locations, meaning 10,000 additional employment opportunities. If workers were able to travel an extra 20 minutes by car, these opportunities increase even further.

Oldham residents who travel for 40 minutes rather than 20 would have access to more than 20,000 additional job opportunities. Residents of Sherwood and Newark near Nottingham, residents of Knowsley near Liverpool and residents of Rochdale in Greater Manchester would also have far greater access to employment opportunities with better transport networks.

The think-tank pointed out that obstacles to using cars, such as the expense and severe traffic congestion, could be mitigated somewhat by car sharing schemes and modern technological advances. Car sharing apps are making it easier for commuters to access car travel even if they are on a low income, while all road users would benefit from a reduction in traffic caused by car-pooling. Although the length of the average commute would increase by this method of travel, the new job opportunities would more than outweigh the inconvenience. Policy Exchange believes that government incentives such as tax benefits would encourage more people to consider car sharing.

Commuters in Birmingham, Blackpool, Hull and Leeds already car share more than average and would benefit most from the proposed benefits, which Policy Exchange suggests could be distributed in the form of travel vouchers to contribute to the costs of the scheme or by allowing car owners who offer lifts to other commuters to increase the tax-free portion of their earnings. Similar programmes are already being tested in a few local authority areas. Car sharers could also be offered free parking.

Other traffic congestion reduction measures proposed by the report include offering cheaper, part-time season tickets for commuters who use the train to travel to work only a few days of the week, devolving the control of rail franchises in urban areas to local transport authorities, and allowing local authorities to control commercial bus subsidies.

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