Perhaps you’ve heard rumours about this whole "car sharing" thing going on in the city? Perhaps you think it’s a grand auto-centric love-in propagated by hippies and
psychocyclists around the city? Perhaps you’ve just been living a blissfully ignorant existence and have no idea what I’m talking about.
I’m about to enlighten you.
CAN, or the Co-operative Auto Network is a non-profit organization in Vancouver that facilitates the joint ownership of a fleet of 143 cars by nearly 3000 members.
Cars are parked at various locations throughout the city, and members book the use of the type and location of car that best suits their needs for any given trip. Read more on their FAQ.
After moving from the ‘burbs to Kitsilano, and leaving the job where I (unlike the majority in Vancouver) had free parking, I found my car sat unused in my parkade far more often than not. According to the CAN webstie, living in Kits, one of their most car-dense car sharing locations, and driving far less than 4 days a week, I was the ideal candidate for membership.
So how’s it working for me? Amazing.
I was initially worried that due to their published rules of having to wrangle my 70lbs of shaggy, slobbery love (the dog) into a secured pet carrier for each trip, car sharing wouldn’t work for me. That’s just not so! The biggest concern of CAN is to mitigate hair and mess. Putting down a blanket and removing the dog hair from the car is all they ask before returning it. (Hear that Kimmy?)
There are also designated allergy-free cars, in which pets, peanuts, perfumes, plants, etc. are verboten. Fine with me – those cars are easy to avoid when I have any of the aforementioned things to transport.
Car sharing isn’t for everyone. It does require a bit of planning and a flexible and cooperative attitude (go figure, huh).
Thus far I’ve had no problems booking a car for when I need it. My monthly usage costs are about the same amount as just the insurance for my former car. And did I mention CAN usage rates also include the cost of GAS?!?! And all maintenance on the cars, and insurance, and BCAA membership? Unbelievable.
I never thought I’d be one of the "one less car" crowd (and I still don’t ride a bike), but my boyfriend and I have gone from a 2-car home down to a 0-car home. Except those 143 cars we own with a bunch of our neighbours.