In Vancouver, car sharing is not a new thing. The city was actually an integral part of establishing the concept when the Cooperative Auto Network—more affectionately known as the Car Co-op, and now rebranded as Modo—launched its program in 1997, becoming the first company of its kind in North America. Ten years later, Zipcar expanded their Canadian presence into Vancouver, and both companies have continued to successfully encourage the notion that owning a car is not necessarily necessary.
This June, car2go became the newest company to roll their fleet into the Lower Mainland. Their 225 brand new Smart-For-Two cars are specifically designed and manufactured for car sharing, and are available via the unique system of being able to be pick them up and drop them off anywhere within the designated 47-square-kilometre zone. There is no annual fee, though only car2go users can be billed for their rental by the minute, and at a rate cheaper than some cellphone providers charge for a local call.
While more and more people are subscribing to alternate modes of transportation, it’s a near impossible feat to move furniture with a bicycle or haul a month’s worth of groceries onto a bus. Car sharing caters to a desire for flexibility and allows anybody to hire a vehicle 24 hours a day, and without the six-page paperwork fiasco of an ordinary rental car company.
Photo: Hamid Attie.