Sports fans saving money by car sharing

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People who frequently travel to sporting events have found a new way to save money on their journey there.

It turns out that lovers of a whole range of sports are dramatically cutting the costs of their transport by sharing their cars with similarly-minded fans.

Thanks to the rise of car sharing websites, drivers are now able to team up with supporters of the same teams, not only enabling them to cut costs, but also giving them some company on the triumphant – or otherwise – drive home.

Ian Derry-McLellan is one such sports lover. He works as a flower wholesaler, and lives just outside Heathrow – but he's a Manchester United supporter, and holds a season ticket at Old Trafford, a round trip of nearly 400 miles away.

"It seemed a real waste to be travelling to and from Manchester with a load of empty seats in my Range Rover. It wasn't exactly eco-friendly," says Ian.

So Ian decided to start using car-sharing website BlaBlaCar to find passengers for his journey, who share the cost of the fuel.

For every trip to Old Trafford and back, Ian pays about £76 in petrol. His passengers now chip in with that cost, paying £15 one-way or £30 for a return journey. Over a season of 8 home games at Old Trafford, Ian will have saved a not-inconsiderable £480.

Car sharing is a great way to save money for passengers, too. Return train tickets from London to Manchester cost £154.60, so a passenger spending £30 through BlaBlaCar saves 80% of their travel costs.

What's more, Ian gets to share the car with fellow fans – and he says that the journeys up are always full of pre-match excitement, while the return leg is all about analysing the match.

It isn't just football fans that can benefit, though. "I had to quit playing myself because of injuries, but I hardly miss a game," says 22-year-old rugby fan Chris Lord, a student living in Wimbledon

Like Ian, it was Chris's love of sport that led him to ride sharing. Some of Chris's old friends from school play for the rugby club in Durham.

"I go up there to visit quite regularly, and I usually try to time my trips so that I can catch one of their matches," he says.

But driving all that way isn't exactly light on the student budget, with the fuel costs amounting to a whopping £106 each visit. So Chris has taken to car sharing, again using the BlaBlaCar website.

For every passenger he takes on board, Chris saves a third of his petrol costs. "I'd say my Volkswagen Polo is quite spacious, but I still set the maximum passenger number to 3 to make sure nobody has to sit in the middle seat!" he says. "I think it's important that everyone is comfortable on a long journey."

Comfort is not the only thing Chris's passengers gain from sharing the ride. Train tickets cost £203 both ways – paying just £35.5 for their share of the petrol saves them over 80% on their travel.