OGO Car Share is beginning the process of expanding outside of Kelowna.
Executive director Christian Brandt made a presentation to West Kelowna council at the most recent council meeting, where he explained the benefits of having Car Share in the community. Brandt described Car Share as an alternative to owning a vehicle, as members have access to the booking schedule for Car Share’s fleet of cars. He noted being a Car Share member removes the overhead cost of owning a car, and members only have to pay when they are using it, unlike when a car they would own themselves is sitting idle 90% of the time but still costing them money.
“On the environmental side, we see a behavioural shift when members become a Car Share member,” Brandt explained. “They increase their transit usage, bike usage, and their walking distance increases. So overall it’s kind of this behavioural change where people get out of their vehicles and stop using their vehicles.”
For every Car Share car, Brandt said approximately seven to 15 cars are taken off the streets. He noted it can also be a community asset, as it gives access to cars for people who can’t afford one on their own.
Since starting in August of 2013, Car Share has grown from two cars and 35 members to seven cars and over 190 members. The cars are currently spread out over four locations in Kelowna, and Brandt noted they are looking at the feasibility of expanding into West Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon, thus the presentation to West Kelowna council.
“I think there was definitely some support and excitement about it,” Brandt recalled of the council meeting. “Of course there were some critical questions, which were mainly because of the lack of information or knowledge around how Car Sharing works. We’re still trying to educate people about the benefits and how the concept works. Overall I thought it was quite positive, the mayor had some really encouraging final words.”
Brandt added this is a long process, and the presentation was just the first step down that road.