The concept of the CarShare program may be foreign to many, but the idea has grown in popularity as the cost of car ownership is at an all-time high. Instead of owning a car which is driven only on occasion, a car share is a cost-effective means of having the mobility and flexibility you require, without the fixed costs of driving. Instead of paying for ownership, maintenance, licensing, and insurance; you can pay a much smaller membership fee in exchange for the right to use one of the co-operative’s vehicles at designated times.
This launch coincides with the downsizing trend we’re seeing in Guelph, and the Greater Golden Horseshoe as a whole. The move into smaller spaces and intensified cores decreases our reliability on cars. However, as we all know, there are still times where a car is our preferred means of getting around. Sharing a car is a great alternative to true ownership for those who are contemplating getting rid of either their primary or secondary cars, whether it’s because of a change in lifestyle or a move to a home where parking may be unavailable.
The Community CarShare was Ontario’s first CarShare program, and was first launched in 1998 in Kitchener-Waterloo. Since then, the program has expanded to Hamilton, Elmira, Niagara and now Guelph. Their mission is to ”deliver a carsharing service and to promote carsharing as an important component of a sustainable transportation system…[reducing] overall transportation costs, traffic congestion and air pollution, thus improving our communities”.
The Guelph launch will see a fleet of 3 vehicles to start with, located at key areas around the city. The current lineup includes a Toyota Corolla sedan (Guelph Central Station) and 2 Toyota Matrix hatchbacks (Baker St. Parking Lot, University of Guelph). These options will be expanded as demand grows, and the co-op will add cars in key locations to satisfy the needs of their members. In the near future, there are plans to add an additional vehicle both at the University of Guelph and the Meadowview Apartment Complex.
They also offer flexible membership options to suit various usage needs. If you plan on using the car frequently, their “Classic” or “Regular” plans may suit you well, as they come with a higher monthly fee, but a smaller variable cost per km and hour. The “Simple” plan has a flat rate annual fee, and 100 free kilometres, but has a more expensive charge per hour. The clear, unique plan options help to ensure those who are considering enrolling are able to pick a plan that works for them, from both a budget and practicality standpoint.
For more information on the Community CarShare, you can visit their website at CommunityCarShare.ca. There you’ll find all their fleet locations, future parking spots, cost comparisons and much more.