Rossland Carshare: Survey kicks the tires on a flexible and affordable transportation option

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
February 27th, 2013

The Kootenay Carshare Cooperative (KCC) may open a Rossland branch thanks to Sustainability Commission (SC) efforts, but first there must be a clear signal of interest from the community.

“Rossland is pretty much the ideal town for car sharing,” said Alex Loeb, the SC carshare lead. “We’re asking interested businesses and individuals to complete our survey and tell us what type of vehicles they are interested in accessing and for how many hours per week. We’ll use the information to assess feasibility and develop the program.”

“This isn’t the first time Rosslanders have considered a carshare initiative, but this time we think that the timing is right,” SC Manager Ann Damude said.

KCC currently operates in Nelson, Fernie, Kaslo, Kimberley, and Revelstoke. Under the current plan, the same co-operative structure would be extended to Rossland. The more members an area has, the more vehicles (and types of vehicle) the area can support. Vehicles are parked in a central location, and members book time online at the KCC site, scheduling as little as 30 minutes or as long as multi-day trips.

Members pay a one-time $500 deposit—refundable, so long as the member doesn’t get into any accidents—plus a monthly membership fee scaled to the amount the member used the vehicles. A direct fee-per-use is also calculated based on time and distance, but fuel receipts and all other costs are submitted to KCC for reimbursement.

“Your fees buy you freedom from a lot of vehicle ownership expenses and hassles,” Damude explained. “The KCC pays for all fuel, insurance, licensing fees, vehicle maintenance and routine cleaning. Members pay their fees and the Carshare Co-op team handles the rest.”

“If you drive the car share vehicle less than 100 kilometres in a month, which is about 4 return trips from Rossland to downtown Trail, then your monthly membership fee would be around $5,” Loeb said. In addition, a 1.5 hour return trip to downtown Trail would cost about $10 in usage fees.

Here’s another example: “If you take the car to Nelson for a five hour round trip, maybe to do some chores and come back, $68 is all it would cost. If that’s what you do once per week, it’s certainly cheaper than owning a car,” Loeb said.

For all those niggling questions like pets (allowed), smoking (not allowed), and what to do if the car needs a repair or you got it dirty (KCC covers almost everything except problems that arise from irresponsible actions,) check out KCC’s policies. An orientation session for new members covers all the ins and outs.

“Car sharing is a great solution for families who occasionally need access to a second vehicle, or for a business that needs temporary access to a truck to make a delivery,” Damude said. Loeb added, “Not only them, but also for elderly folks, students, and other people who don’t need to drive that much.”

Right now, Loeb emphasized, the carshare survey is important to determine the level of local interest so the SC and KCC can decide on the number of vehicles of which types and where they should be parked.

Rossland needs at least 10 interested people for KCC to get one vehicle for Rossland, but “more people gives more flexibility,” Loeb said. “With 20 people, we could put cars all over the place.”

Other KCC towns, for example, have a range of trucks, sedans, and SUVs available to their members, and also utility trailers, roof top boxes, and bike racks.

Loeb said she hopes the survey will help make decisions about where vehicles should best be parked, for example downtown, in upper or lower Rossland, or perhaps at the golf or ski resorts.

Some options she suggested are not even in Rossland: “For example, Teck and the hospital in Trail,” she said. “A lot of people share a ride down there—or would like to—but you can feel very stuck when you carpool. Maybe they have to go to a doctor’s appointment, run some errands, or come home if their kid gets sick at school. Having a car down there gives that option, some extra peace of mind, and maybe an encouragement for more people to carpool.”

Loeb would like to start with a couple cars in Rossland, and is very pleased to be able to piggyback on the well-established structure of the KCC. “We can leverage all their learning,” she said.

“For many people,” Damude said, “car sharing is a cost effective, hassle free alternative to car ownership and a great way to show some love to the planet.”

If you’re interested in being part of the carshare co-operative, complete the online surveyor contact Rossland Sustainability Commission Manager Ann Damude at 250-362-5617. Visit the Kootenay Carshare Cooperativefor more details.

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