Commuters encouraged to embrace new ways of getting to work next Friday

How do you get to work? If you are bored of the bus or Metro, how about a spacehopper, skateboard or a unicycle?

The launch of the Great North Commute in Newcastle
The launch of the Great North Commute in Newcastle

How do you get to work? If you are bored of the bus or Metro, how about a spacehopper, skateboard or a unicycle?

The unusual modes of transport surprised workers and shoppers in Newcastle yesterday in a bid to get commuters to find greener ways of getting to work.

The ‘flash bounce’ was devised to raise awareness for the Great North Commute a drive encouraging people to ditch their cars next Friday in favour of other forms of travel.

The campaign, being organised by the Go Smarter active travel programme, highlights the wide range of transport options available in the city.

Labour councillor David Wood, the chairman of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, was there to back the scheme.

He said: “The purpose is to make people much more aware of the fun ways there are of getting to work. People can leave their cars at home and reduce their carbon footprint. Children often use alternative forms of transport but then when they grow up they turn to using cars, but we want to change that. Not driving is healthier and you can still get to work on time as well as easing congestion and saving money.”

The event is part of the Make Tracks This Spring movement and is also supported by Nova International, organisers of the Great North Run. Managing Director David Newton said: “Busy lifestyles can make finding the time for exercise challenging. The Great North Commute is a fun campaign that will encourage more people in the North East to fit activity into their daily routine. Many of our runners find that setting yourself a goal will help you to stick at it.”

Newcastle University music student, Garry Lydon, stopped to watch yesterday’s speactacle. The 19­-year-­old from South Shields backed the idea, saying: “It’s definitely a worthwhile cause. I myself don’t need a car. I get the Metro into university every day. There are a lot of people who do and I think it’s really handy.”

The event on April 4 is aimed at all commuters in the North East, with prizes available for those who travel the furthest, find the craziest mode of transport and for the people sporting the most outrageous costumes. People who want to take part can register on the Go Smarter website at www.gosmarter.co.uk .

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer