Carsharing comes to Guelph, ON
Yesterday I visited Guelph, Ontario for the launch of a new carsharing initiative as Community CarShare (originally from Kitchener Waterloo) moved in to town. It was great join city and university staff, local developers and residents to see this mode of alternative transportation take off!
Carsharing is a popular alternative to owning a car in many major Canadian cities. The model sees residents join a program (like AutoShare, Communauto, Community CarShare, Modo, and Zipcar, and renting cars by the hour when needed. Carsharing is meant to be convenient: cars are spread across neighbourhoods, reservations can be made online, and vehicles are accessed by a simple swipe of an access card. All of these amenities, combined with hourly rates, can easily make car ownership and the issues associated with it (unexpected costs of maintenance, fluctuating gas prices, parking, lease payments, etc) seem like an unnecessary headache. In fact, many carshare members eventually give up at least one of their existing vehicles.
Carsharing also complements other modes of transportation – research shows that people who carshare are more likely to cycle, walk, or carpool with others.
Why Carsharing rocks
Of course, there are many positives to reducing vehicles on the road and vehicle use. WWF is most excited about carsharing’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (especially when carshare vehicles are electric). Others are excited by the money that they can save by eliminating many costs associated with personal vehicle ownership and some look to carsharing’s ability to eliminate congestion and parking issues.
With the introduction of three vehicles to Guelph’s carshare, the people of Guelph are ready to enjoy these benefits. Yesterday I saw city Councillors, city planners, residents, local developers and university staff, all speak glowingly about the opportunity that carsharing brings to the city and their hope that it will continue to grow to complement other transportation initiatives (biking & transit). Congratulations to Guelph & Community CarShare!