Here in Vancouver we like to share. Specifically, we like to participate in car sharing, and we have a big pool of car share vehicles to prove it. Vancouver also happens to be “the car-sharing capital of North America,” according to a recent study.
Data collected from Vancity Credit Union show that Vancouver has, per capita, more car sharing vehicles than any other North American city. With about 3,000 cars available for short rentals to members of a handful of programs, Vancouver has a larger fleet than in many key U.S. car-sharing cities, such as Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.
Vancouver has, hands-down, more car-sharing vehicles than in other Canadian cities; Toronto has 1,650 while Montreal has 2,080.
There are four major car-sharing businesses in Vancouver: Evo, Modo, Car2Go, and Zipcar. Two out of three car share members of the 4,000 Vancity surveyed noted they joined up within the last two years, and one in three said it had been within the last year.
Car-sharing has become so prominent in Vancouver in part, notes the report, because we have a public transit system that gives residents an accessible every day option for getting around.
Vancouver also has high urban density, a limited supply of cabs, no ride-sharing services like Lyft or Uber, eco-conscious residents, a young population who does not prioritize car ownership, and an immigrant population that is hesitant to jump fully into North American car culture.
Additionally, many of the car-sharing members surveyed pointed to the high cost of living in Vancouver as a reason they car share, though only 12 per cent said they simply can’t afford to buy a car right now.
However, 28 per cent of those surveyed said they have a car but find it more convenient to car-share on occasion. A quarter of those surveyed said they “threw away a key”–meaning they got rid of their existing vehicle–to replace it with car-sharing.
While there are tremendous benefits to car-sharing–of which convenience is king–there are downsides, notes the report. Members spoke up about frustrations about the geographical limitations of many services and the lack of availability in Burnaby, Richmond, and other suburbs. Other issues are not enough vehicles, dirty vehicles, and difficulties finding parking spots.
To read the detailed 17-page report, Vancity has made it available online.