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Car Sharing - an Affordable Alternative
VRTUCAR is Ottawa's own car sharing company. Owner Wilson Wood started 12 years ago with a few posters and four members. Today, membership has grown to more than 2,000 people.
VRTUCAR provides 24-hour access to a fleet of 100 clean, fuel-efficient cars - for up to several days, without the worry or expense of ownership, maintenance or depreciation. VRTUCAR pays for gas, insurance, maintenance and repairs. Members only pay for the hours and the kilometres they need, plus a small monthly membership fee.
"Environmental issues are important to this community. Research has shown that each shared car removes 10 private cars from our streets, reducing gridlock and pollution," says Wood.
Photo courtesy VRTUCAR
"People who car-share often reduce their transportation carbon footprint by half. They support public transit more, and tend to be healthier because they walk and cycle more. Car sharing can be an ideal complement to public transit. Members can use transit for their daily commute, and use VRTUCARs for appointments, errands and recreation. Members can even obtain an OC Transpo Ecopass (discounted annual bus pass) through VRTUCAR," says Wood.
Car sharing makes sense economically, as well as environmentally. "Car sharing can save you thousands of dollars each year, over owning a car," Wood points out.
Based on 2011 Canadian Automobile Association figures, the cost of owning and operating an average-size car, including gas, financing, license, insurance, repairs, maintenance and depreciation, is $8,883 per year, or $740 per month. The average VRTUCAR driver, according to Wood, spends about $1,140 per year, or only $95 per month, a savings of over $7,500 per year.
Besides adding more shared cars throughout the city, and introducing Ottawa's first shared electric car soon, Wood says the next step will likely be "P2P" (Person to Person, or Peer to Peer) car sharing. P2P allows individual car owners to make their vehicles available to qualified members of their community for a modest fee.
"Currently, most VRTUCARs are stationed inside the Greenbelt in Ottawa, and in Gatineau," says Wood. "P2P could provide an eco-friendly alternative to buying a car in Ottawa's suburban areas."
VRTUCAR is also a founding member of the international Car Sharing Association, which advocates for over 50,000 people worldwide using 3,000 shared cars.
For more information about car sharing in our community, visit www.vrtucar.com.
Barbara Griffin is Operations Manager for VRTUCAR.
Last Updated (Monday, 17 September 2012 21:54)
The PERC thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support. The Ontario Trillium Foundation is an agency of the Government of Ontario.