The human race can be its own worst enemy in terms of waste and efficiency. What point in spending money when there's an excellent alternative that should be available for free? Ah - the point might be simply that you don't have to co-operate with other human beings in a way outside the norm if you choose to spend more money.
What am I on about?
a) The restaurant at my hotel if offering "Two for One" meals, all day, every day. That means that you buy any two main courses from the menu, and the cheaper one is free. It's a huge encouragement to Milton Keynes locals to bring their boyfriend / girlfriend / mother / boss in for a meal and the place is busy ... but it could
also be a serious saving for the businessman travelling alone, like me if only
he would team up with another similar lone businessperson for the purpose of ordering food.
b) As I drove the three or four miles from Furston Lake to the Open University yesterday morning, I observed the number of cars on the road (it wasn't quiet) and the number of people in the vehicles coming the other way. 19 out of 20 vehicles had a single occupant and all (except the grass cuttng machine) had spare seats. That could have been a serious saving of fuel / costs if only
people had paired up and travelled together - it's not exactly as if there's a lack of vehicles on the road.
c) Our local Train Operating Company, First Great Western, sells a "Group Save" ticket where a group of 3 or 4 people travelling together can travel for the price of 2. So there's a potential saving of 50% for each off peak traveller (it only applies to off peak if only
people would co-operate with each other.
If you start adding these things up, you're looking at a considerable overall saving - personally and (in the case of the car driving) for the greater good too.
All it needed, on Monday evening, was for me to say to the next person in the queue "I'll get your main course for you if you'll get me my drink" and we would both have both been quids in.
All it needs on the road is for me to hold up a sign saying "Anyone got a spare seat to the OU?" and there's a car journey saved - and if this became the norm, some traffic jams reduced and some major road capacity improvement expenditure saved.
I HAVE seen sharing work - in different contexts - on rail related issues on occasion, and heard of further instances too. A cancelled service from Melksham, and the person who has driven his / her car to the station offered the others a lift. I have personally been offered (and accepted) a lift when enquiring about the next bus of train to Melksham at Chippenham, and I have been at Chippenham station to drop off / pick up customers, and brought back with me other surprised - but very much grateful - stranded travellers. (written 2008-08-21)
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