Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Car sharing continues to expand

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The tribulations of our transit system continue to dominate the mainstream. In all of the discussion what I think is missing is any real appreciation of why transit is important – why choice should have been improved, and how despite expansion, the lack of focus on mode share means we are definitely slipping. Our transit provider, of course, continues to boast about how good it is and how impressed everyone else is when looking at us from the outside.

One of Modo's new locations, Surrey Central City, is conveniently located right next to SFU's Surrey campus

One of Modo's new locations, Surrey Central City, is conveniently located right next to SFU's Surrey campus

I am turning to some good news, for a change. This time it comes from the car co-op Modo who spent $1m on new cars since October 1 last year and will be opening up more new locations. Car sharing and transit go hand in hand. What Modo does is  transit-oriented carsharing.

When people join car co-ops, they give up car ownership but retain the mobility that cars provide when transit doesn’t fit the requirement. They tend to make a lot of transit trips than car owners and Modo selects its sites based on transit service frequency. Car sharers are also cyclists and walkers. One of the great benefits of not owning a car is that you can get the size you need for the trip purpose. When you own a car you tend to buy one to fit the very few times you need seven seats, or room for a full sheet of drywall. The rest of the time that space travels around empty. The cars we own spend most of their lives parked and idle, eating up valuable real estate and reducing the quality of life for all around them. More widespread car sharing means fewer resources used for more mobility.

Modo’s new locations were strategically chosen both to infill neighbourhoods with high carsharing demand and to reach out to neighbourhoods where carsharing has room to grow. The new locations span seven municipalities and include River Market in New Westminster, Central City in Surrey, and Modo’s first ever carsharing location in Richmond.

Vancouver – ten cars added at eight locations in seven neighbourhoods:
Commercial Drive – McSpadden Park and Napier & Lakewood
False Creek – Walter Hardwick (2 cars) [this is in the Village formerly known as Olympic]
Gastown – 60 West Cordova (2 cars)
Kitsilano – Maple & W 13th
Mount Pleasant – Guelph Park
Renfew – 29th Avenue SkyTrain station
Strathcona – Admiral Seymour

— with six more locations still to come.

New Westminster – added one location:
River Market

North Vancouver – added one location:
Safeway at 13th and Lonsdale

Surrey – added one location:
Central City

UBC – added one location:
Thunderbird Blvd

Locations to be added:

Burnaby – one location is coming soon near Lougheed SkyTrain

Richmond – one location is coming soon near the Canada line (Modo declined to be more precise at this time as negotiations are still in process)

“We’re also excited to announce that we’ve purchased several new Prius V and Prius C models,” says Douglas Dunn, Modo’s Fleet + Operations Manager. “These vehicles give us an even more diverse mix of hybrids and further improve the fuel efficiency of our fleet.”

Modo is a carsharing co-operative, meaning members who purchase shares in the co-op are part owners. It is the largest carsharing co-operative in North America and a founding member of both the international CarSharing Association and the recently formed Federation of Canadian Carsharing Co-operatives.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Posted in car sharing

One Response

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  1. Great post Stephen. I am not a driver anymore as the local drivers frighten me. I don’t even like to be a passenger! nonetheless I am still interested in cars.
    In my younger days I drove in Europe, as I worked in a small town and had clients all over the place, and managed to survive the mad traffic in Bordeaux, when it had only 2 bridges, the first time I had to drive there, but drivers did know what they were doing—perhaps because we all drove manual cars? (I did fail my first driving test–on a boulevard at rush hour–for driving too slowly! I did do a perfect parallel parking on a hillside street)

    In an article about TransLink, in yesterday Globe, Gary Mason wrote that “Metro Vancouver has an excellent transportation system”..Sorry but when there is no rapid transit west of Cambie, none on the North shore, none..or, to say it in another way, when MOST of Metro Vancouver is nowhere near a rapid transit line it is NOT an excellent system…especially for a metropole of 2.5 million people.

    Interestingly, in many of the transit systems I have used—big and small– the mayors ARE in charge AND secure financing is provided. The transit system is not in charge of building roads and bridges either (unless they are train bridges). But then in other places even business people and politicians–before/after they are elected–do use transit regularly, so do average car owners that don’t see the point of paying for expensive parking while they work in an office, school etc….


    April 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm

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