the mid-devon lift-giving scheme permitted motorists to accept payments from passengers in private cars in a designated area, in advance of the general car sharing provisions contained in the transport act 1978. it was the only such 'general authorisation' in the government's programme of rural transport experiments (rutex). an assessment of the scheme is presented. the designated area contained only limited conventional public transport facilities, and lift giving was already prevalent. few residents felt themselves to be experiencing important transport difficulties, either before or after implementation of the scheme. the authorisation had little effect on car-sharing habits in the area; few lift givers wanted payments, and few residents had been inhibited by the previous legislation. some difficulties were identified concerning the matching of potential lift receivers with possible lift givers; those needing lifts were reluctant to ask for help, but car drivers had difficulty knowing when lifts were required. the relevant provisions of the transport act 1978 are likely to have been similarly ineffective in comparable areas elsewhere; organised car schemes may offer a better way of improving rural mobility.(a)

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