Win £25 by inspiring others to switch to greener and healthier travel habits
The Surrey's Greener Futurechallenge allows everyone who lives, works or studies in Surrey to earn BetterPoints and win prizes for walking, cycling and using public transport. One such prize is the 'Greener Future Star'. Gabe was chosen as our latest winner and received 25,000 BetterPoints (£25) for sharing his story. For your chance to win £25, download the app via the buttons or QR code at the bottom of the page!
After passing his driving test, using the car had become habitual for Gabe. That was until he decided to ‘go green’ with his travel choices. With the help of the Surrey’s Greener Future challenge, he has become a public transport convert. Here is what he had to say:
Before joining the Surrey’s Greener Future challenge, what were your travel habits like?
“I learnt to drive last year, after which I drove almost everywhere. I realised though that this wasn’t great for the environment and that I should try to change. I toyed with the idea of getting an electric scooter, but it wasn’t practical for where I live.
I saw the challenge poster pinned up on the noticeboard in the building where I work. I was drawn in by the idea of earning rewards, so I gave it a go and I haven’t looked back.”
How has the app helped you to travel more actively and sustainably? What features do you enjoy?
“The app has been the catalyst for rethinking my travel choices. Despite working opposite the train station, literally a few seconds away from the front door, I was still driving. It made me ask myself, ‘why am I not getting the train and earning rewards for it’?
I like the fact that the rewards are attainable. You do a bit of walking or riding on public transport and soon enough you have enough points to get money off at Costa Coffee or Dylan’s Ice Cream, which is conveniently just around the corner from my house!
Having that relatively instant gratitude is what is really appealing to me, along with the CO2 savings feature. This is what separates it from other similar apps.”
How have your travel habits changed?
“I’ve engrained the habit of travelling by bus. I wasn’t using it at all before I joined. I’ll catch the bus or train to work in Woking Town Centre or to my girlfriend's house, which is about a 30 minute journey from the office.
I’m now using my car so little that it struggles to start! I’ll use it once a week at most, and only when the public transport options are a nightmare and require too many changes and long waiting times. If there is any regular journey that I can do by bus or train, I will.
In lockdown I did a load of walking but as soon as the restrictions lifted I lost the habit entirely. However, I have regained the habit with the help of the challenge. Despite sitting at my desk for most of the day, I make sure I get my 10,000 steps in.
Even when I was away in Italy on holiday and knew I wasn’t going to be earning any points, I was still recording my journeys and checking the app.”
What benefits have you noticed as a result?
“I feel much better about myself that I’m doing something for the environment, which I really care about. Seeing the CO2 emissions savings makes me feel good.
Taking the bus or train has made my travel time far more productive. I am learning about marketing theory for my job and the journey affords me the time to focus on my reading, something you don’t get when you’re driving.”
Not yet earning rewards for walking, wheeling, cycling and taking public transport? To join Surrey's Greener Future simply download the free BetterPoints app via the buttons or QR below and tap Challenges to get started.