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How to give your festival a boost and save money


Profit: Polly Arrowsmith saves £600 a year and reduces her carbon footprint by sharing lifts at hard-to-reach events

The British summer is packed with cultural and sporting events, from music and literature festivals like Glyndebourne and the Chalke Valley History Festival to the Henley Royal Regatta and Wimbledon. But the cost of getting to and from them can add up quickly.

That’s why more and more people are turning to elevator sharing. Event attendees use online platforms, social media, or word of mouth to find other attendees taking the same journey. They then offer a spot in their car if they plan to drive, or agree to be a passenger and contribute to fuel costs.

Sarah Whelehan, 30, uses Liftshare regularly to save money on summer events. She posts the details of the trip she plans to take on the website or app, and the other attendees message her if they want to join her.

Liftshare, which has 700,000 members in the UK and Ireland, is free to use and also suggests an appropriate price that passengers need to pay the driver for a ride. Members planning to carpool can message each other ahead of time to decide a convenient time and place to meet.

“I use Liftshare when I go to concerts as it makes getting there so much easier and cheaper,” says Sarah, who is a primary school teacher in Dublin. “This summer I will be using it for events at the 3Arena in Dublin and Malahide Castle. It also means I don’t have to worry about parking when I get there.’

Sarah also uses the platform to find people who share her 35-mile journey from Navan to Dublin.

“Petrol costs me about €70 (£60) a week, but your contributions mean I save €25 on that,” he says. ‘It’s also nice to connect with other people. I’m not saying we’ve become lifelong friends, but it certainly has made travel more interesting.

Liftshare says it has seen a spike in activity in recent weeks.

“Summer is always a busy time for us, as more people attend festivals and events, and are more open to sharing lifts in the lighter, warmer months,” says Amy Young, Liftshare Community Manager.

Its popularity has been growing over the past year due to the rising cost of living. Another 50,000 members joined last year, especially when the cost of gasoline increased.

“People use the site for single trips or regular commutes, and we have members saving thousands of pounds a year this way,” adds Amy. The savings can add up quickly.

For example, a single journey from Bristol to the Latitude Festival in Suffolk this month would cost approximately £71.40 in fuel costs.

Travel by train to Halesworth, the nearest station, costs £101. From there you need to pay £8 each way for the festival shuttle bus. But a shared lift would cost a passenger £35.70, according to Liftshare’s suggested contribution. If four people shared the journey, the driver would save £53.60 and it would cost each passenger £17.90.

Opera lovers heading to Glyndebourne from London can expect to spend £46.30 on tube and train fares back to Lewes, East Sussex, plus £18 each for taxi journeys to and from the place. The total cost of £82.30 compares to £34 in fuel costs if you were driving. A four-person shared lift can see you pay just £13 as Liftshare’s suggested contribution – a total saving of £69.30 on public transport and taxis. Sharing elevators with people you don’t know can be overwhelming. Liftshare recommends letting your friends and family know about your plans, and only going ahead if you feel comfortable, even if a shared lift has already been arranged.

He says some members choose to show their identification, such as a passport or driver’s license, to know they are traveling with the right person.

If you are taking a lift, you can check the car’s MOT and tax status by entering the car’s registration number and make on the government website vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk. Carpooling shouldn’t affect a driver’s insurance if he’s not earning a ride.

Go for a song: Opera-goers save £70 each at Glyndebourne

Go for a song: Opera-goers save £70 each at Glyndebourne

Polly Arrowsmith, 56, lives in Islington, north London, and often uses shared lifts for festivals, training days and personal development retreats outside the capital.

“When I go to events, I contact the organizers ahead of time to see if they know of others looking to share elevators, or I post a request in a related Facebook group or online forum,” he says. ‘And while I’m at an event, I’ll ask who drove there to see if they’re interested in a shared lift home. I always offer to pay for my trip and that also helps them with their driving costs.’

Polly, who works for online security company CyberPal, recently organized the lifts to and from a book festival at Stroud in the Cotswolds in this way.

She says that sharing the lift has saved her over £600 in travel costs over the year.

“It’s important to me to reduce my carbon footprint and this certainly helps,” she says. “It feels safe as the people I share the elevator with are known by the organizers or part of the community and of course I wouldn’t share with someone I didn’t feel comfortable with.”

Polly doesn’t have a car, as the parking costs alone add up to hundreds of pounds. Shared elevators allow you to go to events that would otherwise be difficult to get to.

She says: “There is one retreat I go to in Essex that is impossible to get to by public transport, and there is only one local taxi, which makes it very expensive and difficult to book.”

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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