Monday, March 31, 2008

Need a lift …?

- André Jaquet -

At breakfast last week, I was alternating between grumbles and grunts through a spoonful of (sugar-free) muesli in my mouth and past my designer stubble, when a friend dropped in with an interesting piece of news that made me realise something that I had not picked up before: how frustrating it must be to live in our beloved dorp without transport.

I must explain that a recent illness prevents me from driving at the moment and I started to mull over such questions as how do you travel to and from George or Oudtshoorn when your car is being repaired there or when you don’t own any wheels, or yours wouldn’t make it over the mountain anyway? What do you do when you have a doctor or dentist appointment or simply need a change of scenery and are getting mall-withdrawal symptoms?

Having lots of leisure time these days, I mulled further. What is worse than having had a great day shopping and seen the latest movie only to find that your planned lift home has fallen through and you are stranded in George?

What do kids do when they have to travel to and from school and university or friends arrive at the airport? And let's face it, we all enjoy a good ‘skinder’ on the trip and many of us feel more secure travelling with company. I am not even going too whisper about the latest rise in the petrol price.
Anyway, as I was dwelling (or was it ‘dwaaling’?) about these things, my friend told me of the great service which originated from a discussion on Cafe Albert's stoep.
One of the group was looking for a lift to Cape Town and the idea of a shared lift service was suggested. Romy Mathews set up a data base of interested persons and Prince Albert Lift Services (PALS) as a not-for-profit community service, was born.
Intrigued, I called Romy to please explain.
“Well” she said, “You simply add your name and e-mail address to a membership list. Anyone may join; you don’t have to live here, just travel back and forth, and there are no conditions or charges for membership. All offers of lifts, either to or from Prince Albert, will be automatically forwarded to you by e-mail free of charge. Travel arrangements and any costs involved are between the members themselves.”

Romy added that those interested in becoming part of this community service could send an e-mail to her at, call her on 023-5411-175, or if they didn't have an e-mail facility, could just drop off the their requirements and contact details with her at Café Albert on Church Street for her to forward to everyone on the membership list.

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