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Exploring Community CarShare program for London

“All we need is 100 people to register on our website. We’re ready when you are.”

All London needs to join the communal car revolution is 100 names.

Community CarShare operates a fleet of 25 vehicles in Kitchener-Waterloo, available to its 750 members on a self-serve, pay-per-use basis.

Founded in 1998, it expanded to Cambridge in 2007 and Hamilton in 2009. Their membership has increased by an average of 52 percent each year.

Car shares maintain a fleet of vehicles strategically spread around a city. Members book the vehicles online or by phone, and use a pass card to a lockbox to retrieve the keys. They pay a monthly membership fee plus a rate tied to how long they have the car and how far they drive on each trip. When finished, they return it to the parking spot where they found it.

Car shares exist in most major cities in North America.

According to president Jason Hammond, London would be a good fit for Community CarShare – it has a regional population base similar to the other cities they have expanded to (about a half-million), it is going through a downtown revitalization and it is trying to improve its mass transit system.

“All we need is 100 people to register on our website and we’ll put three vehicles in London,” he said. “We’re ready when you are.”

To join, visit (they’re rebranding) – registering as an associate member costs just $10. Once the car share is active, the application fee is $30 and a $10 deposit for a pass card to the lockbox where the keys are stored. The monthly fee is $40.

Using a car costs about $4 per hour ($5 on the weekend) plus 30 cents per kilometre. Premium vehicles cost another toonie. If time is booked in a larger block of 10 or 20 hours, there is discount. And it’s only $1 per hour from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. to accommodate users who are taking the car on a two-day trip.

Beyond that, drivers set it and forget it: Community CarShare fills up the tank, changes the oil and pays the insurance.

They’re the only co-operative, not-for-profit car-sharing outfit in southwestern Ontario. Members elect the five-person board of directors.

London resident Debra Woodhall said she would take advantage of the opportunity.

“I could have use of car when I needed it, (that) would be great,” she said via Twitter.

Another tweeted that she would “sell her car immediately” if a program started up.

“Heck yes,” agreed another.

Hammond said the cost-benefit threshold for car ownership is about 1,000 kilometres per month – if you travel less in your vehicle, it’s not worth it.


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