Saturday, 20 July 2013

Car sharing philosophy

When we moved to Victoria, we got rid of the car (it was donated and the money went to the Stephen Lewis Foundation).  We have set ourselves up here so that we have no need of a car for day-to-day living, and have joined the Victoria Car Share Cooperative so I can have access to a car for when I need it.  I'd originally thought that would be once a month, but has turned out to be about twice a month.

One thing that I had not considered was how joining the co-op would make me so much more aware of the costs of operating a car.  When I was a car owner, I needed to buy the car (I paid cash, so that was a one-time payment, although I know others who make monthly payments on their rides), so once the money was gone I didn't think about it any more.  I paid insurance in 6-month increments, so only needed to worry about that cost a couple of times a year.  Fuel was only an issue when I filled up once a month or so, and other maintenance (oil changes, not much else), less frequently.  So the car was paid for in advance, for the most part.  Any time I had a whim to drive, vehicle operating costs (other than parking) were seldom on my mind.

Now with the car share, my costs are a fraction of what they were as a car owner.  However, I know that I will be charged for every hour I have the car booked, and for every kilometre that I drive.  While the costs are low compared to any other means of travel other than walking, biking or transit, just being aware that I am spending money each time I take the car has given me a new perspective on travel costs.  As a car owner, the money had already been spent, so I might as well drive.  In the car share, each decision to drive is a decision to be billed specifically for that drive.  It makes me think for each trip if I have made the best choice for mode of travel - not something that I had expected when I joined!


  1. Do you find car-sharing convenient ? -i.e., for picking up the car, getting back home once you've dropped it off, etc. You probably are good at anticipating and making your travel plans, so that's a good thing. Don you find it more convenient or affordable than renting cars for weekend shopping, etc ? I opted not to buy a car while I lived in Botswana. Car sharing wasn't really an option there, but I had a network of safe, reliable, and affordable taxi drivers I called upon when I needed to get somewhere. I didn't miss driving, to be frank, but I am finding I've become dependent on a car once again, now that I am back.

  2. We're quite lucky that one of the coop cars lives in our apartment buildings parking lot. So long as no one else has signed it out, it is quite handy. However, if we lived further out, say in Saanich or (heaven forbid!) the western communities, then the car share would be much less practical.