Posts Tagged ‘car sharing’

Tonight I presented my second speech in the Toastmaster’s Competent Communicator manual – Organize Your Speech. The target time was  5 to 7 minutes and my delivery, while longer than my rehearsal time, came in on time.

Car sharing

“The car has become … an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete.” “[T]he automobile has gone from object of desire to necessary evil.”

The first observation was made by Marshall McLuhan, back in 1964, and the second is from a 2009 column by Margaret Wente.

Madame chairperson, fellow members and most welcome guests tonight I want to tell you about a popular alternative to car ownership. This alternative is known as car sharing. It requires a slight cultural adjustment. However, it can save you money and it’s environmentally friendly, too.

Organized car sharing is a relatively new phenomenon and the concept continues to gain acceptance.

Car sharing, like any form of sharing, is the joint use of a resource. The movement started in Lucerne Switzerland in 1987 and, worldwide, car sharing programs now operate in over 1,000 cities.

In Canada the first car share operation started in 1993, in Quebec. These services now operate in about two dozen Canadian communities. It’s most popular in high density centres; however, it also exists in less dense areas, usually functioning as a co-operative. The sector has an impressive growth rate of 30%.

Did you know that Guelph has a car sharing program? The Guelph Community Car Co-operative has been operating since 2001. It has two vehicles and about 40 members. Every once in a while I need a car and I was thrilled to stumble upon this co-op when I relocated here. I quickly sent in a membership application. It’s a great service.

On an individual level the benefit of sharing a resource is that you save money.

The average cost of car ownership is $8,000 per year. That’s a hefty expense. If you drive less than 12,000 km per year and don’t need a car for your daily work commute, car sharing can result in significant savings.

It functions on a self-serve basis. You book a vehicle when you need one, pick it up, and then drop it off when you’re done. For this access, you pay a one-time refundable membership fee, $500, and a small monthly charge, $7.50. The cost of using a vehicle is $3.00 per hour and $0.30 per km. Insurance, maintenance and fuel are included!

I’ve owned a Pontiac Acadian, an AMC Spirit, and a Suzuki Sidekick. For years, I saw my vehicle as a necessary convenience and sometimes as a form of freedom. All the while, though, ownership was a constant drain on my finances. In the four years since I first joined a car-share my annual expenses have been under $1,000.

On a social level sharing a vehicle is an environmentally friendly transportation strategy.

The car sharing movement is environmental. It aims to reduce emissions from the use of private cars. By reducing the number of cars on the road, car sharing reduces traffic congestion and the demand for parking spaces.

33% of annual greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to the transportation sector. 59% of these emissions come from cars and light trucks. It’s estimated that each shared car takes up to 15 cars off the road.

People who car share are more likely to walk, cycle or use public transportation when a car isn’t really necessary. Car sharing reduces the number of average household drives by 40 to 60%, or more, per year. It’s a lifestyle change. Consequently, it’s also a health strategy.

To sum up, the car sharing paradigm has gripped popular consciousness. It’s a global movement and it’s available locally. It offers inexpensive access to a vehicle when you need one and the freedom of not having to look after a large piece of metal.  It helps you and the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and potentially increasing your health. Are you ready to join the movement? Contact the Guelph Community Car Co-operative. You can car share!

Postscript: The Guelph Community Car Co-operative can be reached at 519-241-2886, or, click here for their new website.

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This afternoon I took a spontaneous road trip to nearby Elora. As much as I’m enjoying getting to know Guelph, I feel rather trapped when I can’t easily venture away. I’m glad that Guelph has a car sharing club, although, the trip didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d have liked and I didn’t enough time to stroll down along the Gorge.

At least I was able to walk around the village. Elora’s a lovely touristy village with wonderful artisan shops. I was a tad disappointed in my attempt to find a cafe. A couple places were closed, another didn’t have a free table, and the place where I did eat was somewhat expensive. Yet, it was nice to get away for an afternoon drive.

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