We’re growing in Guelph! Two new cars added this year

Just in case you haven’t heard, Community CarShare is growing in Guelph! This June two new cars were added in the Ward/Two Rivers Neighbourhood. We’re excited to announce a new Toyota Prius C located at the Metalworks Development at 53 Arthur Street. As well, we’ve also added a Toyota Tacoma Pick Up Truck at 71 Wyndham Street South, in partnership with Diyode Maker Space.

So far our members in the Ward are loving the new Prius closer to them! We’d love to show the vehicle in it’s parking space (it’s brand new) but it’s actually located inside the parking garage. This is some extra good news because in the winter, we’re guessing this will be an even more popular location (no fumbling for your smart card in the cold, less ice/snow to remove as well!)

Next came the Toyota Tacoma Pick Up Truck. If you need to move something big, this is definitely the way for you to go. We even have a new casual plan which is great for someone who needs a truck 2-3 times a year. Did we mention that we launched this vehicle with Diyode Maker Space? Read on to see how we made this new vehicle launch extra special.

 

No Community CarShare launch event is complete without some of our local members. A few of them really enjoyed seeing the new truck!

We were so excited about the new truck that we decided to get a cake! Did we mention that every time we reach a major milestone we get a cake? Some people might call this Community CakeShare.

We were having so much fun at the launch, someone said, “hey! we should put the cake on the hood of the truck!” We placed it there, very carefully, for this photo.

Thanks to all of our members and everyone from Diyode for making the launch a success!

Emissions progress in Waterloo Region – transportation reduction still needed

By Heather Bigelow

Climate Action Waterloo Region has just released its progress report on emissions in the region, and as your favourite local sustainable transportation provider, we can’t help but weigh in! Climate Action WR, headed up by Sustainable Waterloo Region and Reep Green Solutions, works with local action owners—including Community CarShare—to reduce the region’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across five focus areas: transportation, workplaces, homes, agriculture, and waste. The target is to reduce Waterloo Region’s GHG levels to six per cent below 2010 levels by 2020.

So how is Waterloo Region doing? Overall we’re on track to meet the target, however most of the reductions to date have come from the provincial phase out of coal-fired power plants. Without that phase out, our emissions would have actually gone up by 4.4 per cent. The five-year check-in report was released last week, and is full of awesome infographics.

Near and dear to our hearts at Community CarShare is the transportation component. And the results in this area are not so great. Transportation-related emissions have actually gone up five per cent since 2010. And new vehicles have hit the road at twice the rate of population growth, which means that some people living without cars in 2010 now own cars. As of 2015, transportation is responsible for half of the total GHG emissions in Waterloo Region. Reversing this trend and achieving the target is going to take action from all of us.

One tangible way to reduce your carbon footprint is by joining Community CarShare. Studies show that joining a carshare leads to decreased driving, since it makes you more conscious of your vehicle usage and helps you select the best mode of transportation for your trip. To help with those choices, your Community CarShare membership also gives you access to discounts on GRT passes.

If you’re already a member and still own a car, consider if the time is right to finally let it go. You can sign up all the drivers in your household on your existing account, and share the monthly plan fee. From now until the end of June, if you sign up an additional driver to your household account, the registration fee is 50 per cent off when you use the promocode TARGET6%.

If you’d like to find out more about Climate Action Waterloo Region and how you can get involved, you’re invited to their community engagement kick-off event, being held on Thurs. June 22, from 5pm-7pm at The Tannery. All the details can be found here.

Three ways carsharing just got better for you

by Matthew Piggott

If you’re like me, you spend your day trying to figure out how to make carsharing more awesome for everyone who wants to join. OK, let’s be honest, if you’re reading this your typical day is probably not similar to mine. Nevertheless, we’ve recently been successful in getting some important wins for our members (and future members) that I just can’t wait to share with you.

No more ‘less experienced driver’ fees!

A few years ago, Community CarShare took a big step forward when those under 21 and/or with a G2 license were allowed to join and be covered on our insurance policy. The catch? Less experienced drivers were considered higher risk and so we were forced to charge those drivers an extra fee of $10/month.

I’m now pleased to report that this fee is gone! That’s a savings of $120/year we’re very glad to pass on to our members as of the June 2017 billing cycle.

If you’re under 21 and/or have a G2 license and were previously turned off by the extra the fee, now’s the time to give Community CarShare a second look.

Can you say cheaper kms?

If you’ve looked into our rates before, you’ll know that we charge $0.25/km, which is a pretty good deal already, given that our rates have gas and insurance included. But could it get better? Yes, yes it could!

We crunched the numbers and decided that it made sense to charge less per km on trips longer than 250 kms. Any kms driven over the first 250 on any booking will now only cost $0.15. (The first 250 kms still cost $0.25)

Can you say road trip in the CarShare?

Licensing requirements that actually make sense

Picture this: you’re a young driver, or someone who has recently obtained their G1 license, and you successfully get your G2 within eight to twelve months, giving you a year of driving experience. Previously, to become a CarShare member you needed two years of driving experience to join, so we generally couldn’t accept brand new G2 drivers.

Now, things work much better. You can apply with one year’s worth of driving experience and become a member of Community CarShare. Any licensed period counts towards that 1 year, even the time in which you had your G1. This opens up carsharing as an opportunity for new drivers like never before.

There’s another group of people this will also help, those with an international license. You can use your out of province/country licensing to join Community CarShare, or even combine your Ontario license with previous experience in another country in order to join. There are a few conditions for out of country applicants, however we rarely have to turn anyone down. Contact us to begin the application process if you have an out-of-country license, or if you have any questions.

So, let’s recap:

  • No more $10/month fee for less experienced drivers
  • Additional kms (any over the first 250 driven) now cost $0.15
  • You only need one year of licensing experience to join

Sound good? It also makes sense to review our FAQs before you apply. Check it out, and I look forward to welcoming more of you as members this summer!

Why CarShare? It’s like rental, but better!

By Ashley Keenan

I bet you’ve heard of carsharing in some form or another over the past few years. You might have even wondered to yourself quietly, “Well how is that different than renting?” but didn’t want to ask. If you have been wondering “should I use rental or carshare” in the past – it’s time to take a deeper look!

There is no debating it; we are fundamentally different than the traditional car rental system. Carsharing is like renting but with more perks; sure you get access to a vehicle with both, but carsharing has greater ease of access, free gas, comprehensive insurance, and advancements in technology that allow you to book and drive with the touch of a button.

The emerging popularity of the sharing economy has created an opportunity for people to branch out and not use one vehicle for all things. One of the first things I noticed when I decided to give up my vehicle was that in order to get all things done in a timely and economic manner I needed to use multiple types of transportation, including both rental options and carshare. However, as time passed there was so much more than just the base cost that was factoring in to my decision making process.

It’s about more than just money (seriously!)

It is a common experience in renting, especially on a long weekend, where there is no longer the vehicle you requested, a huge line and significant wait time when arriving at the rental agency. Sure this usually means a free upgrade but also extra gas fees and higher deductibles. That old saying that time is money holds true, especially when you are trying to adhere to a schedule. For some people, being able to access a car and return it on your schedule, not based on set business hours, can be indispensable.

We are more comparable than you think

Often members will note that I am always talking about ‘that sweet spot’ in pricing – based on a few factors such as age, time, distance and convenience, carsharing is often in line with rental prices. In fact, we recently lowered our per kilometre rate for longer trips! If you have considered carsharing in the past but price was a barrier, it’s time to give it a second look.

Factors to consider when making your choice

  • Gas – This can affect prices significantly depending on your vehicle size, time of year, and distance traveled
  • Time – Are you around during business hours, how important is ease of access, do you need a vehicle for 24 hours or less?
  • Insurance Requirements – Damage waivers cost $19.99-23.99/day depending on the rental company
  • Age – 18-21 year olds cannot rent at most agencies, those who are 21-25 are subject to a young drive fee of $15/day
  • Distance – Rentals have the perk of included kms for long distance trips, Community CarShare only charges for the kms you actually need
  • Seasonal increases – While our rates are the same year round, rental agencies change prices during peak times
  • Winter tires – 100% of Community CarShare vehicles have Winter tires installed during the Winter months.

At Community CarShare we are all about making sustainable choices based on transparent information; we realize there is no ‘one size fits all’ for everyone but with us you can count on a level of service, consistency, reliability and innovation that will keep you coming back.

WHY YOU MIGHT CHOOSE CARSHARE: WHY YOU MIGHT CHOOSE RENTAL:
Convenience – You want instant access and ability to self-serve pick up and drop off You need a vehicle for exact 24 hour increments.
Larger vehicles at compact prices – You want a bigger vehicles like a SUV, van or pick up truck You are ineligible for insurance or already have your own
Your needs don’t fit into 24 hour divisible time frames (you might just need an hour or two, or one and a half days, etc.) You have CLDI on your credit card and don’t need to purchase a damage waiver
You are under 18-25 You want to be picked up and driven home
 You want to support a local organization with a small staff and strong ties to our community

Helping to ending mental health stigma, one step at a time

By Janet MacLeod, Executive Director

A culture of stigma around mental health issues is not something you will find amongst Community CarShare’s staff team. Instead, we embrace talking about our mental health, and recognize it’s just as important a consideration as physical health to employee wellbeing. This evolution of a supportive mental health culture started out with one small step many years ago (‘sick’ days became ‘wellness’ days), but that was before I was even able to talk openly about my own mental illness.

I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when I was 17, but I’ve had symptoms since I was 11. At the time, I had no idea that the random (and sometimes disturbing) things rolling through my thoughts was actually a mental health issue, however after learning about OCD during a high school class, I put two and two together. It wasn’t until I was in crisis and couldn’t focus on my homework one night that I talked to my parents and went to see the doctor.

The public mental health conversation thankfully has changed significantly over the past fifteen years, and that shift has helped me to no longer feel shame about having a mental illness, and getting to a place where I can now talk about it openly, and use my experiences to help others.

Part of this work is participating in events such as Lutherwood’s Steps for Kids, which my colleague Heather Bigelow and I are walking in on Sunday, May 7. Heather first signed up for the event when she was looking for ways to support local mental health programs, and she immediately got me involved too. Our team is called Sharing is Caring, and coincidentally, another colleague had already been in touch with Lutherwood about having Community CarShare sponsor the event.

For Heather, her journey around mental illness also began as a teenager, when she lost a friend to suicide. As suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians between the ages of 10 and 24, not to mention all the other ways mental illness impacts the lives of young people, the importance of work that organizations such as Lutherwood do towards ending stigma and providing support for young people has never been more clear.

To support Lutherwood and team Sharing is Caring, please consider making a donation.

What did Green Venture do when their van broke down?

Corporate Member Spotlight – Green Venture

Green Venture is Hamilton’s premiere environmental
outreach organization, specializing in school tours, urban gardening, and educational outreach to make Hamilton and surrounding areas a great place to live, work and play sustainably. The relationship between Green Venture and Community CarShare is a match made in eco-friendly heaven, it just makes sense!

One of the ways Green Venture ‘practices what they preach’ is by being both a Corporate Member and Partner of Community CarShare through our CarShare Anywhere program. Green Venture funds and provides a home to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) on the stunning grounds of EcoHouse, located at 22 Veevers Dr. They use the vehicle in many ways, including as an education tool on electric vehicles, and a sustainable mode of transportation for staff.

Green Venture decided to become a member of Community CarShare when their old van (seen on right) retired from being the on-site vehicle at EcoHouse. Using Community CarShare as their mode of transportation not only made economic sense (no more maintenance or insurance bills) but also streamlined their scheduling by allowing multiple staff to schedule bookings independently. They also enjoy the ability to cater the size of the vehicle to the size of job, improving environmental efficiency by only using larger vehicles when required.

Green Venture’s commitment to environment and community doesn’t stop at providing sustainable transportation to its employees; they also use the Prius to introduce valuable lessons to emerging young minds. On their grade school tours the electric hybrid vehicle is used as a visual aid to discuss energy conservation which in turn grabs the attention of their teachers and parents. Educating children on sustainable modes of transportation is essential for changing thought patterns on car ownership, which they take home with them and eventually take to adulthood.

Consciously car-free: Come share in the freedom!

By: Ashley Keenan

There is no denying we have created a vehicle centered culture. Cities are built around car ownership, and decades of marketing have convinced us that not only do we want to own personal automobiles but we feel we need them. As teenagers we lusted after car ownership, in adulthood we associate it with success and achievement. The bottom line is programmed into us – cars equal freedom. You have the ability to go where you want, when you want, and with whom you want.

We don’t usually think of  car ownership as a choice, but rather something you can either afford,  or 
not afford. One year ago I chose to give up my car for a variety of reasons; it needed expensive repairs, parking pass prices were increasing, and to be honest driving on a daily basis was becoming a source of stress. After months of thought I dove head first into the sharing economy —  organizations like Community CarShare which share an asset or a service with multiple users. The sharing economy has exploded around the world,  encouraging mutual use of things like cars, bikes, and tools which used to be only available to those who could purchase their own. I think the best thing about the sharing economy is you no longer have to chose between mobility and freedom. In fact I noticed  some great added perks:

  • Time efficiency – without a car you need to plan ahead and make the best use of your time
  • Physical activity – walking between locations, bus transfers and no longer hitting the drive-thru leads to a healthier lifestyle
  • Significant savings – even with the cost of taking the bus, using bike sharing and carsharing, I was still saving money since I didn’t need to pay for parking, gas, maintenance, and insurance
  • Less stress – I wasn’t wasting time in traffic(goodbye road rage) and I have more disposable income for life’s little pleasures
  • Increased sense of community – by far the most rewarding perk! I was surprised to learn how the car acts as a barrier to the world on the other side of that metal door

Keep in mind there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution to car ownership, however it is amazing that we have so many choices in how we get around. People who choose to own cars also do so for valid reasons and there is nothing wrong with that; what we need is the choice! In my experience more modes of transportation equals more freedom. If you have been on the fence on whether or not to become car-free come take the plunge and share in the freedom!

New Year, New Hours

The Hamilton Office is now closed on Thursdays instead of Fridays. The office phone line is also unanswered on Thursdays between 11 AM and 1 PM for a staff meeting/lunch. For urgent issues, members can contact the reservation line (The number is located on the back of your Smart Card). Otherwise, please leave a message and we’ll return your call as soon as possible. Our Offices are open 10 AM-5 PM Monday – Friday. We recommend calling ahead before stopping in so that we can make sure a staff person is dedicated to meeting with you.

How did Drew Ripley get his business off the ground? With CarShare of course!

Drew got his start with Community CarShare

Drew got his start with Community CarShare

“When I was starting out with my business (Drew Ripley Entertainment) Community CarShare was essential to making it happen. At the very beginning, I only occasionally needed a car, and if I had been tied down with car payments in that early stages I never would have been able to start. CarShare gave me the freedom to start a business without the upfront investment of car ownership.

Over time my business grew. I had more regular gigs and work trips where often taking me longer distances (300 km+). I could now justify owning my own vehicle, and I purchased the most efficient vehicle that would cover 80% of my trips. CarShare still stayed played a part of my business because the remaining 20% of my trips needed a larger van. This meant I could risk expansion while keeping my costs low.

The business continues to grow. I’m established, and I’ve actually hired on staff to assist. As we grow, so does our CarShare use. They offer both personal and corporate memberships, and as a small business owner I can easily track trips and easily divide out what is personal, and what is business (helps a lot a tax time!)”

Give the Gift of CarSharing!

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Seasons greeting members and future CarShare members.

Winter and the holiday season are fast approaching and now it’s time to consider that special person on your gift list.  Whether you’re making a planned (or unplanned) transportation switch in the New Year, or if you or someone you know just needs a new set of wheels, Community CarShare has a great fleet of vehicles for all your needs. We’ve even got a special Holiday deal to help you spread the gift of CarSharing.

Here’s the offer:
For new members:
Purchase a new driving membership which includes the member deposit, application fee, and $55 in driving credit ($98.90 value) for only $60! That’s a savings of almost 40%.

For existing members:
Are you an existing member and looking for a way for someone to give you a gift as well? You can also buy driving credit as a gift, or even arrange a surprise gift of driving credit for an existing member.  Purchases over $100 will receive a bonus amount added of 10%, up to a maximum of $500.

Your last day to get the deal and set yourself up for the new year is December 31st, 2016 so act now!
(Edit: this promotion has now closed, please contact us for our latest offers)

Got more questions? Get in touch and we’d be glad to help you out. If you haven’t looked into us lately we have new cars, new locations, better rates, and even an awesome program where we deliver the car to you.