As a mum-to-be, I am already anticipating sleepless nights and a whole new kind of tired. However, by the time the kids grow up and go off to school, I am fully expecting to be filled with renewed energy and a desire to keep in shape, not to mention keeping an eye on the pennies and reducing my fuel consumption.
I was therefore pretty surprised when a piece of research we commissioned, to support National Walk to School Week, found that British parents are clocking up a colossal £51.2 million bill each year taxiing their children less than one mile to school. That’s a phenomenal 1.2 million extra cars on the roads (ouch!) during peak hours every week day. The eye watering cost is enough money to fund 47 primary schools for an entire year.
At Zipcar, we already think about how to reduce both pollution and congestion in our urban environments, with each car shared taking 15 privately owned vehicles off the road. However, with our research showing that 30% of families with school age children, it’s the parents and not the kids that need a talking to.
It’s no secret that the school run is carnage, with parents citing difficulty parking (40%), regular traffic jams (21%), fighting parents (20%) and accidents (10%) as regular occurrences.
So, in support of National Walk to School Week, we are encouraging YOU to think smarter about how and when you use your cars. An average car spends 96% of its life parked – is your car one of these? Car clubs are becoming increasingly popular with savvy urbanites who know that hiring a car by the hour, on their street, will sufficiently fill the void for a second car – and still leave you quids in.
So parents, what’s the verdict? Will you be swapping the school-run for the school-walk?