Five reasons Vancouverites are choosing carshare over ownership

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       (This story is sponsored by .)

      You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who says they chose to settle in Vancouver because it’s cheap. Complaints about the dreary weather and unfriendly people pale into insignificance compared to the ever-escalating cost of living. And yet the benefits—like the lifestyle and having easy access to nature’s playground—somehow make the challenges of staying in one of the most expensive places in the world worthwhile, even if that means coming up with creative ways of making life in the cost lane more affordable.

      It’s no surprise, then, that according to a report by Vancity in 2018, Vancouver has more carsharing vehicles per capita than any other North American city. That equates to approximately 3,000 carshare vehicles on our streets, edging us ahead of other West Coast hotspots like Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.

      B.C.-based carsharing cooperative Modo has been helping people get on the road for 22 years, but it’s only recently that the option of has been introduced—giving Vancouverites further cause to discard their cars and opt for a more sustainable mode of transportation. By raising the bar on convenience in this way, Modo members can enjoy all the benefits of a round-trip carshare service without having to set an end time in advance.

      So even if you haven’t jumped on—or rather in—the carshare bandwagon just yet, below are five reasons why you might want to reconsider.

      It’s flexible

      Some things are difficult to set a time limit on. You just never know how long that story of your grandmother’s is going to last. You can’t always anticipate when a quick catch-up with a friend is going to turn into an epic session of putting the world to rights. You can never guess when that morning coffee date is going to become afternoon tea—followed by a midnight snack. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Modo, 44 percent of its members were unsure of their return time before they set off on a trip, and a whopping 94 percent favoured more flexibility.

      That’s why Modo took its cue from members when launching the , which means you don’t have to miss out on any impromptu activities simply because you’ve chosen to use carshare. Open Return gives members peace of mind by allowing them to use the vehicle for as long as they like, up to 24 hours, without having to set a return time.

      It’s convenient

      Modo bookings can be made up to a year in advance via the site on desktop and mobile or by using the mobile app.

      Different tasks require different vehicles. One day you might need a larger vehicle with winter tires to get you and your friends up to Whistler, and the next you need something with tons of cargo space to help your sister move apartments. With Modo, you have access to 700 vehicles across the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and the Okanagan—with everything from pickup trucks and SUVs to passenger and cargo vans. Bookings can be made up to a year in advance via the site on desktop and mobile or by using the mobile app. And that means you can choose the exact vehicle you need, when you need it, and return it any time up to 24 hours from the start of your booking.

      It’s affordable

      It costs the average Canadian driver between $8,600 and $13,000 per year to own and operate a vehicle—a hefty sum to add to the cost of Vancouver living. By comparison, Modo members pay about $600 annually to use the service in addition to cycling and transit, without having to worry about the expense of gas or unexpected repairs. With $5 million third-party liability insurance included, members can also rest assured that they are covered to the hilt with no pricey premiums.

      And now with the new Open Return option, drivers can enjoy the luxury of time for a small convenience fee of just $3. The best part? As a Modo member, you only pay for what you use, so even if you manage to get away sooner than expected, you’re not shelling out for the entire 24 hours. So when you consider that a late fine is $30, investing in the flexibility for less than the cost of a coffee seems like a no-brainer.

      It’s sustainable

      In the next 20 years, Metro Vancouver is expected to welcome another one million residents, which will translate into an additional 700,000 privately owned cars, at today’s rate of vehicle ownership. Scary stuff if you think about how bad traffic, congestion, and parking are already. Choosing a round-trip carshare is a far more sustainable way to get around (reducing GHG emissions by up to 50 percent) without having to sacrifice your needs. Better still, of the 700 Modo cars available, one in five is electric or hybrid.

      It’s local and inclusive

      Modo's new Open Return option means drivers can use the vehicle for as long as they like, up to 24 hours—adding an extra layer of flexibility and convenience.

      Since Modo is a co-op, your dollars are going toward supporting a local member-owned business, which helps with local economic and social growth. And Modo stands by its mandate of being driven by people, not profits. It’s for that reason Modo aims to connect people with places in a way that’s affordable, convenient, sustainable, and inclusive. Open Return is available to all members and membership types, on daily drive and premium vehicles.

       “You have the best of both worlds,” says Selena McLachlan, Modo’s director of marketing. “You can book your favourite car well in advance, one of the perks of our round-trip service, and now you also get ultimate flexibility on your return.” 

      If you’re not already a Modo member, you can . Use the promo code Straight50 at  to get $50 in free drive time. Learn more about how carsharing and Open Return can work for you at .