Monday, August 20, 2012

List #39: 10 Things I Love About Car Sharing

He really wants to get his license
This week's Listicles topic from the lovely Stasha is 10 Things About My Car. As we don't own a car in the usual sense, I'm writing a slightly different list: 10 Things I Love About Car Sharing. I've been a member of Modo (the car co-op) for over nine years now, but there are still new things to love popping up as the co-op grows & changes.
  1. Being able to drive whatever size car I need. Modo includes minivans, cargo vans, light trucks, sedans, crossover vehicles, compacts & sub-compacts in the fleet of 275 vehicles. When we go to Ikea for a flat-packed furniture haul: it's a Dodge Caravan. When I picked up a backyard play structure slide thingie off Craigslist, I took a Mazda truck. If I'm just visiting my family in the suburbs, I will usually take the Toyota Matrix near us.
  2. Fun cars! I'm not a car person & I don't feel the need to have one all to myself. Nonetheless, I'm not immune to the charms of a cute car. Getting to drive fun cars is a perk of being a car sharer, plus it's the same cost as any other ones with Modo. At a rental place or when you actually *gasp* buy a car, you pay a premium for a cool car. In my years of Modo membership I've driven a Smart, a Mini Cooper, a new Volkswagen Beetle. There are a few convertibles, hybrids & Fiats that I'd like to try sometime too. & they call cost the same.
  3. The parking version of the Immunity Idol. Modo cars have a special parking pass that allows parking in any permit zone in the city of Vancouver. Residents only? I can park there. This has been awesome when driving to friend's house parties in the West End, or parking at the PNE or Giants' Games. We also used it to park on the street next to the lot, saving the cost of parking when we were at BC Women's Hospital for Sprout's birth. I have no idea what over 30 hours of parking would have cost there.
  4. Not having to worry about the car. Break-ins, accidents, cleaning, parking, maintenance, whatever--when my booking ends, it's not my problem. When we owned a car, someone broke into it while it was parked in our driveway. The damage was pretty minor, but cost over $1000 to repair, paid for by insurance... except the $300 deductible. That was a nasty surprise. So was the $1200 bill to repair the fuel pump when that died. I hate surprises like that.
  5. Saving money. When we owned a car, we spent over $4000 a year on the thing & we only drove maybe twice a week plus a few road trips a year to the Okanagan to visit family. We still had to spend money on top of that for bus fare & bike maintenance because that was how we commuted to work. Nowadays we spend an average of $600 a year on Modo, maybe $1000 on rentals for the road trips & probably less than before on transit because we bike more. When we don't drive, we don't pay, unlike owning a car: you have to keep that sucker insured! Also, joining the co-op cost me only $500 (which is a share, refunded when I leave). There's no way I could get a car anywhere near as nice as the ones I regularly drive as a Modo member for $500! Come to think of it, can you get any car for $500 these days?
  6. Not having to deal with the nitty gritty. Renewing insurance, repairs, oil changes & even some of the cleaning is done for us. It's all included in the hourly & kilometre charges we pay.
  7. Roadside assistance plus. All Modo cars are covered by BCAA Roadside Assistance to help with jumpstarting, towing, etc. But beyond that, if I have any issue with or question about the car, I can call the friendly, knowledgeable staff at Modo to help me out.
  8. I never have to worry about locking my keys in the car. All Modo vehicles use an electronic fob system. My fob lets me open the car when I have a booking. This system locks the doors & disables the ignition when I fob out. The actual ignition key stays inside the car. If, somehow, I locked my fob into the car, I could just call Modo staff & they could unlock it for me remotely. (See #7)
  9. Knowing that it's greener. We're still burning fossil fuels when we drive & we're doing it in a vehicle made up of tonnes of non-renewable resources extracted from the earth at great cost environmentally. However, the fact that we share less than 300 vehicles with around 9000 other Modo members means there are a lot fewer cars on the road & that's definitely healthier for Mother Nature.
  10. Biking home with groceries
  11. The inconvenience of car sharing. If I had a car sitting there, just steps away from my door, waiting for me to jump in & drive, I would do that more often. I'd use more fossil fuels, I'd get less exercise & I'd spend more money. So I like the fact that driving has to be a little more deliberate for me: I need to plan when I'm going to use the vehicle, make a booking online or by phone, walk over to the car, strap in Sprout's car seat if he's with me & return it by a specific time, or call to extend the booking. I really don't find it difficult, but it does make me consider whether cycling, walking or transit might be a better alternative every time I think about driving. & that's a good thing.
 *I talk about Modo all the time, because that's the car sharing organization I belong to. Vancouver also has Zipcar & Car2Go, which run with slightly different business models, vehicles & pricing. However, they both have some of the same perks that Modo does & encourage less car use. If you're thinking about trying car sharing in Vancouver, check them all out & see which one works best for you! If you're in another city, there might be a car sharing organization there--Zipcar is all over the US & there are many other local car sharing organizations in North America & Europe that I know of.

Why Monday lists? Reading the lovely Chloe's blog, Tea Swamp Park, I found an idea I had to 'steal': a list of all her Halloween costumes, with quite a few photos. She got the idea from Hula Seventy's List Project. I've decided to do the weekly lists for a year that Hula Seventy is doing.

Tea Swamp Park & Hula Seventy are not the only ones doing lists, however. Click on the Listicles badge to the left to check outNorthWestMommy's list & 'assignment' for next week.

Psst... The Sprog now has a Facebook page! Head on over & click 'like' to get even more Sproggy goodness delivered to your feed. :)


  1. This is so cool. If we ever live in the city I would have it no other way! I also love public transportation. It is so nice to sit on a bus or tube and daydream instead of having to focus on driving. Good on you for finding the best way to get around for you and your family!

  2. If we had a decent public transportation system in the city where I live - I would be so into this.

  3. Modo does seem like a perfect fit for your family and I do believe, this list might make a fabulous pamphlet or informational guide for their website. Perhaps you should forward this list to them?

  4. I have never heard of such a co op. what an awesome service! If we lived closer to the city and our state didn't have the urban sprawl it did, this would be so awesome! I would for sure opt into this!! Probably have to change jobs but I could just stop working :D

  5. I'm green, with envy. What a fabulous program. Ellen

  6. this car sharing thing sounds very cool. Aside from the fact that when I do drive, it must be in a minivan....I actually do not care for driving that much at all. I used to use public transit most of my life, and taxis when required: like you say, greener option. But when the I knew I'd be having a family, I had to bite the bullet and buy a car.

  7. I always wondered about car sharing. Great idea. Our city doesn't have it, but hopefully it will grow.

  8. That is so cool! I love that you get to drive whatever you need at the time. But it probably wouldn't work living out here in the country when you have to drive 15 miles to the grocery store, with 2 kids.


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