Our trip to the Vancouver Epic Sustainable Living Expo turned over something interesting we didn’t already know (but probably should have). There are at least two different car sharing networks operating in Vancouver.
Zipcar was the first one we checked out. Zipcar has car sharing networks setup all over the U.S. as well as in Vancouver and Toronto. Zipcars are available in over 50 cities throughout North America and the UK.
The second car sharing network we learned about was the Co-operative Auto Network (CAN) which is a local non-profit car sharing program exclusive to Vancouver.
The idea behind a car sharing network is that instead of buying a car, you rent one at low cost on a semi long-term basis. It’s perfect for city dwellers who don’t want to buy a car because they use them so rarely but still need them from time to time. If you only drive a few times in a month, then a car sharing network is probably a great alternative to buying a car.
While the concept is basically the same for the two car sharing networks, the difference was in the cost and the way that you pay.
Zipcar is fairly straightford. There’s an annual fee of $55 and a registration fee of $25. Then there’s the usage fee with hourly rates starting at just under $10 CDN and daily rates starting at $69. Gas is included and weekends cost a little more.
The CAN costs were a little more complicated but after we broke it down, they seem cheaper, depending on how much you plan to use the service. CAN requires a $500 deposit before you can use their vehicles. While this sounds steep, you do get all of it back when you cancel your membership, assuming you didn’t crash the car.
The usage fees seem quite reasonable, if a little complicated. They charge $2.50 per hour as well as a monthly fee based on how many kilometers you drive. The monthly fees aren’t too steep though so it balances out quite nicely.