A bus company on the Isle of Wight has launched its own version of the car scrappage scheme, offering motorists free travel on its buses for a year in exchange for their old banger.
The island's bus operator Southern Vectis has introduced the 'Really Green Car Scrappage Scheme' that will allow residents to swap an old car, scooter, moped or van for a ticket to use their bus network for 12 months. The bus operator, which says its incentive is more environmentally friendly than the Government scheme, has pledged to scrap every vehicle it takes in.
"I was mulling over ways of getting people out of their cars in a real but imaginative way," said Marc Morgan Huws, Commercial and Operations Manager at the bus company.
"The government funded Car scrappage is a scheme that does nothing to tackle the fact that we have to encourage people to use their cars less. We know that if we get people to use buses they tend to switch for the long-term. The problem is how we get them to switch in the first place. Our target audience is really the second car. Many families feel the need for one car, but the second one is a marginal purchase, often something cheap and cheerful. The costs are often overlooked until it's time to tax MOT or insure the car. We know that in the current economic climate, and with big job losses on the Island people will question the cost of a second car. Sale prices are low and often the decision comes to a head when a car needs an MOT or major work, and the dilemma arises of whether or not to spend money on it which is rarely recovered if the car is sold".
The Really Green Car Scrappage Scheme, launched on 15 October, is being marketed heavily with high profile bill boards and bus back adverts and is planned to be rolled out across other Go-Ahead Group bus companies.
Marc Morgan Huws says that he hopes the idea will be successful across the UK: "I'd be delighted if other bus companies took up the scheme – it's good for our whole industry; we need to constantly find ways of just getting people thinking about the role that buses can play in building sustainable transport and communities. It would be great to see the scheme adopted by our competitors".
With 600 Island workers having recently been made redundant by wind turbine blade manufacturers Vestas, and a target group of students who rely on parents to contribute to their motoring costs, Southern Vectis is confident that there will be takers for the scheme.
The year's free bus is worth around £720. For more information on the The Really Green Car Scrappage Scheme visit www.scrapmymotor.com.