Car Sharing Coming to Rossland?

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
November 27th, 2008

It seems everywhere you look these days people are looking to save costs both in their back pocket as well as environmentally. With the current economic situation upon us, the need to save where we can has taken on a heightened importance for many. The good news is that with ever-tightening economic belts combining with a growing environmental consciousness, alternative forms of transportation such as car sharing are getting a second look from people who in the past haven’t considered such options.

Car sharing is certainly not a new concept, and has existed in one fashion or another likely since the very first car existed. A number of major urban centres have seen organized car share co-operatives operating successfully for many years largely because the size of the market and a dense population make the car share an easy fit. Nelson, in its trend-bucking habit, is a small centre that has been on to the car share idea for going on ten years, providing options for people to sell their own personal car saving money and CO2 emissions in the process.

“You go online and look up car sharing and you’ll find co-ops in places like Vancouver, Seattle and Edmonton, and then there is little old Nelson. We’re one of the few small places to operate a car share,” said John Alton who has been travelling around the Kootenays drumming up support for the car share concept.

This past Wednesday, John along with Rossland car share organizer Jeff Ginalias, hosted an informational presentation on car sharing at Cafe Books to discuss the idea of starting up a Rossland car share organization. While only a handful of people showed up for the event, the seed seems to have been planted in getting a co-op off the ground in Rossland.

The program itself provides a cheap alternative to owning your own vehicle for people who aren’t major drivers or commuting to and from work each day. If you are driving less than 10,000 kilometres per year, then the program should save you money over owning your own vehicle. The Nelson program, which currently boasts over a hundred members with twelve vehicles spread between Nelson, Revelstoke and Kaslo, costs $500 up front to join which is refundable if you choose to leave the co-op. Rates then are based around a monthly administration fee, a per km fee and an hourly charge for time you have the car. Detailed information on the fee structure is available on the website at www.nelsoncar.com. When you factor in not having to pay maintenance or repair charges on a vehicle, however, the savings add up fairly quickly for the casual driver.

Wednesday night’s presentation centred around general information on how the program is working in other communities, and what it would take to start a new branch in Rossland. Requiring as few as six or seven members in the co-op to get started with one car, it is certainly an achievable goal for a city Rossland’s size.

Jeff Ginalias has taken on the task of organizing and promoting a car share in Rossland and believes it to be a great opportunity for some in town to save money and emissions.

“I’ve known about it for a little while; I lived in Vancouver and it as quite popular there, and I heard about the one in Seattle. And I know that it’s been successful in a lot of urban areas and it can be successful in smaller areas like here. I know it’s welcomed in Nelson and it’s just a good way to go. It’s an economical way to have a vehicle as you need and reduce some of the carbon we’re putting out there.”

Going forward from Wednesday’s meeting, Jeff plans to continue to get the word out to Rosslanders on car sharing and start building a base of support to hopefully launch a co-op in the near future. One potential option to boost interest is Nelson Car share running a pilot project of basing one of their cars in Rossland for the first few members until enough members are signed on to purchase their own car.

To learn more about car sharing in Rossland, interested folks are encouraged to get in touch with Ginalias at jeffginaliasyahoo.com or 250-362-7214.

“There is an opportunity for the community both environmentally and economically and maybe we need to take a good look at the opportunities to see if we can do some good for ourselves and our community in looking for other options for transportation,” concluded Ginalias.

Categories: General

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