Ride-sharing and carpooling scheme Co-Hop aims to lower traffic

Steven Deare, Northern District Times, 7 April 2016

Employers, including gas supplier BOC, imaging provider Konica Minolta, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Optus have encouraged workers to share a car, cycle together or arrive outside peak hours through the Co-Hop scheme.

Transport association Connect, funded by business and government, recently started the scheme as part of its efforts to improve transport.

Participants use the Co-Hop website to find other workers they might carpool or cycle with, or join on the bus or train.

Users can find others who travel a similar route, and indicate travel partner preferences such as male or female, or non-smoker.

Connect general manager Rebecca Lehman said the scheme was inspired by Optus encouraging ride-sharing among workers after it moved from North Sydney to Macquarie Park in 2007.

More than 500 people have used the Co-Hop website after its first few months.

Among those are Macquarie University employees Belinda Bean and Sarah Jo Steinhoff.

The university has encouraged staff and students to use Co-Hop, and the two colleagues were early adopters.

Each week Mrs Bean, who lives at Lane Cove, drives to Wollstonecraft where she collects Ms Steinhoff. They then continue to the university.

“It’s great getting time to catch up outside work hours and talk about other things in life,” Mrs Bean said.

Co-Hop also matched the pair as cycling partners, and they intend to cycle to work some days.

The scheme offers occasional prizes to users, and the university has incentives, too.

It offers prime parking spaces to people who carpool, as well as free drinks and Opal credit.

A spokeswoman for Novartis said Co-Hop was a great initiative and the business promoted it to its staff,

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