HUNDREDS of residents in Brighton Hill, Hatch Warren and Beggarwood rose to the “My Journey” challenge last summer – taking the opportunity to consider if they could travel around Basingstoke, or further, in ways that do not involve using their car.

Personal travel planning advice, provided through the “My Journey” travel awareness campaign, has given many residents information, support and encouragement to try using the bus, train, walking, cycling, or to car share instead.

A total of 2,700 households were visited by a travel adviser who asked people about their everyday journeys, and helped them consider how they might do their journey differently.

As a result, during a 15-week period, 360 households actively took up the challenge to leave their car at home and to test out other ways of getting around.

This included over 200 residents, who do not normally travel by bus taking up the offer of a free, seven-day Basingstoke Megarider bus taster ticket, supplied courtesy of the local bus operator Stagecoach – giving them the chance to see if some of their usual car journeys could just as easily be made by bus.

Of all the households that the advisers contacted, 42 per cent requested personal travel information packs.

The “My Journey” travel advisers also delivered almost 900 walks and trails leaflets, over 700 cycle maps, more than 600 bus timetables and 450 guides to fuel-efficient driving.

Ted Pritchard, from Basingstoke, said: “I used to drive my car from home to Brighton Hill then down Western Way to the school, but now I cycle the three miles which saves me the cost of fuel and also the big problem of getting through the traffic and finding somewhere to park near the school, and on a school morning it takes me no longer as I do not encounter any traffic jams. I’m also getting fitter.”

Councillor Seán Woodward, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “It is good to hear that the personal travel planning activity has been so well received by people in Basingstoke.

“Given the high price of fuel in recent times, “My Journey” can help people find alternative ways to travel in place of taking the car, and potentially save themselves money.

“Using alternatives to the car for some journeys to work, shopping and even on the school run, can only help to reduce local congestion.

“Plus people choosing to walk or cycle instead of driving will also benefit in health terms by increasing their level of physical activity.”

Residents of Basingstoke and other towns across north Hampshire can log on to myjourneyham to see how regular journeys can be made from where they live and work without using a car.

There is also news and information about events, cycle training for adults, special offers, competitions and real-life case studies.

“My Journey” is funded from a £4.1million grant received from the Department for Transport Local Sustainable Transport Fund.