It was one of those weeks when problem seemed to be heaped on challenge, heaped on difficultly. One of these was simply how we were going to manage without access to a second car. We seem to live a fairly typical 21st Century family life, by which I mean having to juggle demanding jobs, (wonderful) children, the school run, after-school clubs, childcare, study, hobbies, not to mention quality family time. The sheer logistics required to make it all work are amazing. It never stops, and suddenly it was about to become a lot harder when one of those demanding jobs stopped being accessible by public transport. I walk the girls to school, but twice a week, I need the car, and I really need it.
All the environmental reasons for not having a second car aside, we simply couldn’t afford to buy one, let alone run it. Then, a happy coincidence of problem and solution presented itself, all in that same week.
Every day since September, during term time, I’ve walked down Stafford Street, past the Car Club parking space, and idly wondered what it was all about. Then James Frost wrote about the Norfolk Car Club on the Transition Norwich blog and this appeared to be the answer we were looking for.
So, I followed the link on the blog, along with the much appreciated promotion code (waiving membership and registration fees) and signed up. It couldn’t have been a more simple sign up process, and within a couple of minutes my application was in. The next day I received a mail to say that everything was in order, and then a call with the DVLA to confirm my license details. It was all incredibly slick and professional – if anyone thinks that social enterprises are somehow inherently more amateurish than more mainstream organisations, this will certainly change your mind.
I’m particularly impressed by the way that really clever technology has been used to solve a very real problem of cars in our city centres. Smart cards, slick on-line booking, the in-car systems that ensure that you get billed for the right amount, all these are great examples of what the well-applied use of technology and imaginative thinking can do for some of the challenges that our society faces.
So, I’m just waiting for my electronic keycard to arrive in the post, and I’ve already booked my first car for next week. I’ll let you know how I get on!
Welcome to the "official"blog of Transition Norwich, part of the world-wide Transition movement, a community-led response to peak oil , climate change and the economic recession.
Our TN blog is designed to showcase the Transition experience, from those who are living it - its highs and lows, challenges and treasures. We began this community enterprise in October 2009, inspired by the work of the Transition Circles, and have been charting our low-carbon lives almost daily since then. In June 2012 the group of contributors began to post more occasionally (about once or twice a week). We also cross-post work from other Transition initiatives.
You can find the full range of subjects we cover in our Labels list (see below). Do feel free to join in the conversation in the comments box. We'd love to hear from you!