As the cost-of-living crisis continues to take its toll on the mental health of 8 out of 10 people, lift-sharing is emerging as an increasingly popular and cost-effective way to travel.

A survey by Censuswide on behalf of Mind earlier this year revealed that 78% of people said the cost-of-living crisis is impacting their mental health, rising to 94% for those with existing mental health problems. The survey also found that 18% can’t afford to travel to their usual support networks in their local communities, leaving those without transport more likely to feel isolated.

Lift-sharing provides an affordable means of travel for those feeling the financial strain. Platforms such as BlaBlaCar and Liftshare make it easy to find someone going your way, with payment being exchanged directly between members or a suggested contribution based on the distance. Not only does it save money, but it can also provide companionship and make new connections, which can have a positive effect on mental wellbeing.

Harriet Ninsiima, who uses the Liftshare platform, says: “I have saved half of what I spent using the train. I don’t think I’d still be working for the same company if I didn’t bring down my travel costs, but thanks to Liftshare, I am able to do the job I love with the company I love. Plus, sharing a lift gives me the space to have conversations with like-minded people about our challenges at work and at home, as well as just talk about silly life stuff – I have gained new friends.”

Liftshare Community Manager, Amy Young, comments: “Year on year we’ve seen an increase in the number of people using Liftshare because they don’t drive (from 29% in 2022, to 39% so far in 2023), indicating that the cost of driving is becoming increasingly prohibitive. Our annual Commuter Census Survey showed a drop in people working exclusively from home for the first time since pre-pandemic, which means there’s an uptick in people driving to the office again this year and more people available to share a lift.”

Sharing a ride can make a huge difference to those feeling the financial strain, helping to reduce transport costs and providing a boost to mental health.