When I moved to the West Coast from Calgary six years ago, I left my little 2001 Volkswagen Golf TDI on the other side of the Rockies.
I had visions of cycling around quaint streets carrying an artfully placed baguette in my basket, looking effortlessly chic (while birds serenaded me).
The reality was not quite like that. You see, in the winter, it can be kinda wet. And dark. And sometimes you need to buy toilet paper. Or cat litter.
Thankfully, all was not lost. Shortly after moving to Victoria, I discovered Modo — our city’s car share co-operative (formerly called the Victoria Car Share Co-op).
Every time I show up somewhere with a Modo car, I end up answering lots of questions about how it works.
So without further ado, here are five things you need to know about Modo and car sharing.
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Once you sign up for Modo, you get a key fob that gives you access to 40 cars all over the city (and 500 more in the Lower Mainland) — cars, trucks, sports cars, you name it.
The cars live in specific locations and you pick them up and return them to the same spot. (Check out this handy dandy map to find cars near you.)
You can book online or via the smartphone app. In my hood (Fernwood), I have five cars within a five-minute walk from my house and I can almost always book a car when I need one (even at the last minute).
There are two different rate plans, depending on whether you purchase shares or not, but generally speaking a trip to, say, Hillside Mall for a couple hours will cost about $12. A trip to the airport and back would also cost about $12.
Rates include insurance and gas, so there’s no extra math.
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2) It’ll save you thousands of dollars a year.
In 2013, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) found yearly ownership costs for an average compact car are about $9,500. That’s nearly double the $5,400 a year the average Canadian spends on groceries, according to Statistics Canada.
What most of us forget to factor in when thinking about the cost of car ownership is the cost of depreciation — not only are you making car payments, paying insurance and doling out cash for those pesky repair bills, but that car in your driveway is going down in value every day.
The magic of Modo is you only pay for a car when you need it — no hassles, no stress.
Even if I used a car on my every whim, I figure I’d have a hard time racking up $100 a month in Modo fees.
3) It makes you less lazy.
If you have a car sitting in the driveway, you often drive it even when you don’t need to. The thing with Modo is it makes your default option not driving. And that’s kinda cool — and forces you to stay active even in the dark winter months.
Sure, sometimes you have a bad day and it’s raining and you still want to go to yoga and you decide to treat yourself and pay a big ole $8 to shuttle your lazy ass to class. And that’s okay too.
4) It’s part of the booming sharing economy.
There are lots of signs that our world is moving toward a preference for having access to things without the burdens of ownership.
Car use is declining in North America and us young(ish) folks are ditching car ownership. In a recent Vancity poll, 22 per cent of Vancouver millenials said they’ve given up car ownership to save money. In Greater Victoria, more than 1,500 people are members of Modo.
Sign up through Gensqueeze, a national campaign working to ease the squeeze on young Canadians, and get $50 of free drive time. Just use the code GENSQUEEZE
5) It’s good for the environment
Buying less stuff is always better for the environment. But in this case, giving up car ownership (or your household’s second car) is also likely to make you choose active modes of transportation more often. Less miles=less oil.
Plus, one in five Modo cars is a hybrid or electric vehicle.
What’s not to like?
If you have questions, please ask away. I’m a Modo Ambassador and love to talk all things car sharing (and money saving)!