1. How is carsharing different from renting?
CarSharing is not equivalent to renting, and if you’re joining CarShare, that means you’re looking for a longer-term solution for your vehicle access needs. Maybe you want to downsize your household from two cars to one, and use CarShare for those times you need two vehicles at the same time. Maybe you’ve never owned a car, but would enjoy having easy access to a vehicle when you need one. There are many reasons people join CarShare, but having one-time use of a car is not one of them. When you rent, it’s a one-time arrangement. When you join CarShare, it’s usually for several months to several years.
2. How does insurance work?
As a member of the CarShare, you are added to our group insurance policy, which means you will either develop or maintain an insurance history as a member of the co-op. If you are giving up a personal vehicle when you join, and think you may purchase one again in the future, you can relax knowing your insurance history will be continuous. Insurance costs are covered in the Plan Fee (Monthly or Annual) for each Membership Plan.
3. What are the eligibility requirements for membership?
You have to be at least 21 years old to be insured by the co-op. You also need a full G class Ontario driver’s license, and a relatively clean driving record.
4. How long in advance do I need to reserve a car?
If you can plan ahead by 1-2 days for when you will need a car, you’ll likely be able to get the car you want when you want it. You can also book spur-of-the moment, and about one-third of bookings on CarShare vehicles are made within two hours of the start of the trip. Keep in mind, the closer you are to the time you want the car, your preferred car may already be reserved, and you may need to reserve your second choice car. The co-op monitors car usage rates, and if usage rates are consistently high in a certain area, we will look at adding an additional vehicle to the fleet to meet member demand.
For long-term planners, or for those with a weekly commitment at the same time every week, vehicles can be reserved up to a year in advance.
5. How long can I have a car?
As long as the vehicle is available, you can reserve it for as long as you need. The shortest period of time you can reserve for is 30 minutes, and the average reservations are a few hours in length. If you need the car for a whole day, you can take advantage of 24-hour rates.
6. Can I use CarShare for one-way trips?
Carsharing is designed for round-trip use, where you start and end at the same point. That means you need to return the car to the location where you pick it up, and pay for all the time you have the car, even if you’re not driving during several hours of your reservation. For this reason, carsharing is not an ideal solution for people who need to make a daily commute during daytime hours. If you need the car overnight, rates are much cheaper from 11pm-7am, so in some scenarios an overnight commute may be do-able with CarShare. Community CarShare is working on ideas for how one-way trips with CarShare vehicles can work, so stay tuned for any developments.
7. Which rate plan is best for me?
The co-op’s rate plans are designed to meet anyone’s driving needs, whether you will only need a car occasionally, or you have regular weekly trips. The Regular Plan and Classic Plan are best suited for the frequent driver, and offer the best driving rates. The Simple Plan is for the occasional driver, or anyone who wants the security of knowing they have a “back-up” car available at any time. With a $50 Annual Plan Fee, Simple Plan is an affordable way to maintain access to a car for the times you need one.
8. When will you have hybrid and/or electric vehicles in your fleet?
Right now! The co-op currently has one fully-electric vehicle, and two hybrid vehicles in its fleet. The co-op’s EV, a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, was launched in August 2012, and is stationed at the Region of Waterloo’s administration building at 150 Frederick St. The co-op’s hybrids are both Toyota Prius C vehicles. The first was launched in partnership with the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment, stationed at the University of Waterloo – A Lot, and the other is stationed at Enivro-Stewards in Elmira. The rest of the co-op’s fleet consists of fuel-efficient vehicles, to reduce emissions and save money on fuel.
9. When will you be in my neighbourhood?
The co-op launches cars in new neighbourhoods based on membership demand. If you’re interested in having CarShare in your neighbourhood, there are a few things you can do to help. First, join the co-op as either an associate member or a driving member to show your support. Then, tell your friends and neighbours and get them to sign up as well. If you know of a good parking location in your neighbourhood for a CarShare vehicle, let staff know and they’ll pursue securing the parking location for CarShare use. Once enough people in your neighbourhood sign up for CarShare, then the co-op will work on a placing a car in your area.
10. Can I carpool with a CarShare vehicle?
Yes. You can take as many people as there are seatbelts. Have your co-workers join you for a work trip, or pile your friends in for a road trip. You could even consider signing up for a carpool matching service, such as carpoolzone.ca, to see if there is anyone else out there whose trip would match yours.
11. Are you like AutoShare and ZipCar in Toronto?
Yes, Community CarShare provides the same core service as AutoShare and ZipCar. How Community CarShare differs from those organizations is that it’s a co-operative, meaning as a member of Community CarShare, you are also an owner of the organization. AutoShare and ZipCar are privately-owned for-profit companies, where you don’t get to participate in the governance of the organization. As a member and owner of Community CarShare, you have the right to participate directly in the democratic control of the organization, through voting at the Annual General Meeting, or by volunteering to sit on the board of directors or any of its committees.