I did a presentation the other day and I brought up the idea of a roaming membership, which would give members access to cars in any Canadian city. A prominent businessman in Halifax said ‘Well, I’ll join just for that.’ He travels all over Canada, and it’s a huge asset not to have to rent a car for meetings when you only need it for a short period of time. For instance, somebody can fly to Vancouver from Halifax and get on the Canada Line and be at a car within 15 minutes. So the roaming membership is a huge plus for businesses as well as creating another component of their strategy to reduce costs and GHGs.
Have you encountered any resistance or has it been pretty easy to get people to participate?
The only resistance is the psychological thing about ownership, that it means something to own a car. But you can see that this industry is going to take off even more because people are getting that they actually don’t need their own car. People don’t understand that it costs them anywhere between 30 and 40 dollars a day for it to sit in their driveway when they’re not using it. We need to shift our thinking about what we use cars for. People literally save thousands of dollars.
Commercial and residential landlords are putting cars in their buildings as an amenity for their leasers and renters. This is a very convenient and low-cost option for people to have car mobility without owning a car. People can refer to a website called carsharing.ca, and there they can see in what cities there’s a car sharing organization. City governments are taking this on as a very integral part of their transit system. San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver all have created bylaws for developers to incorporate car sharing into their developments. For instance in Vancouver, if you build car sharing into your development you don’t have to build as many parking spaces, which is saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases.
Hertz, the rental car company, is recently getting into it in Berlin and Madrid. It’s the way to go. We have the technology that permits reliability, the technology where you can book ahead for the car that you want and it becomes your car. The industry is maturing such that if you look into any city, you really don’t need to own a car anymore. Anywhere between 10 and 20 cars are taken off the road with every car share car that’s used. What I want people to think about is: what if everybody did this? What difference would it make in a city? What difference would it make in our neighbourhoods?