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LETTER OF THE DAY - Carpool to cut expenses

Published:Monday | January 11, 2010 | 1:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In 2008 when the price of oil skyrocketed on the international market, I wrote a letter suggesting an incentive-driven carpooling initiative led by the private sector. While I think that a private-sector-led initiative would generate more interest and obviously media hype, I am now positing an individualist approach to this plan.

While the price of the commodity continues to be high on the world market and this is something we have no control over, the recent increase in the tax on petrol has dealt us, as consumers, a double whammy. So, although we might have curtailed consumption, our weekly and, by extension, our monthly expenditure continues to move beyond our ability to sustain. It is for this reason that I make the call for us to look at carpooling as a means or lowering our expenditure at a time when, for the most part, our incomes have not increased commensurate with other living expenses.

Meaningful activities

I know that, as a people, we tend to be very ostentatious and we like our own space but even if we can afford the increased expenses, couldn't we channel these funds into savings or other meaningful activities? I know that the process can only be successful if we all buy into it and are committed to the process. So, I am suggesting that drivers with schoolchildren commence the process during the Easter break when the schools are closed and the excuse of having children to drop off and pick up would be minimised.

Carpooling does not only benefit on the individual level but, by extension, it also benefits on the national level. As with reduced national consumption, the managers of our country would require less foreign exchange to foot our oil bill, which based on information is at times stifling.

Positive impact

On the individual level, with carpooling, we may be able to reduce expenditure on petrol by at least 50 per cent on a monthly basis. It would reduce the number of motor vehicles on the road and this would ease the congestion, thereby positively impacting our ease of movement and importantly, the reduction in the number of vehicles on the road would relieve us of the stress associated with moving from one point to the other.

As consumers, we all have to devise survival strategies in these very challenging economic times and I believe the carpooling is one strategy that we can benefit from.

I am, etc.,

PAT BIGNALL

wilbig@cwjamaica.com