Transportation

Hamilton CarShare Now Easier to Join

By Michael Druker
Published April 05, 2012

It's been nearly three years since the launch of Hamilton CarShare, when a citizen-led effort brought an expansion of Waterloo Region's Grand River CarShare into the city. There are now three cars and a minivan in Hamilton available for members to reserve and use.

As a volunteer with this organization, I am pleased to say that starting this month, it's easier than ever to join CarShare.

Hamilton CarShare provides the mobility of a personal car without the hassle and cost. If you can make your frequent trips without a car, CarShare fills in the gaps when a car could come in handy. CarShare also cuts down on the "driveway incentive" - that urge to just drive everywhere instead of making a more healthy, cost-effective, or more pleasant choice.

In practical terms, members reserve a car, use it, return it to its spot, and get billed based on time and distance driven.

As of April 1, we've adopted a new membership plan and adjusted an existing one in order to make it easier to sign up. The previous cost of joining had been a barrier to many, and I hope that the change makes CarShare more accessible.

Our improved Simple Plan is perfect for occasional use and as a "back-up car". You join for $50 and pay $40 a year. This gives you access to cars at $10 / hour or $70 / day, which includes 100 km free.

The new Regular Plan is for more frequent use. Joining costs $50, and membership is $40 a month. The rates are $4/hour ($5 weekend), $30/day ($40 weekend), and $0.30/km.

Let us know what you think! For more information or to sign up, check out our website or call the Hamilton office at 905-543-4411.

Hamilton CarShare and Grand River CarShare are part of Community CarShare, a non-profit carsharing co-operative headquartered in Kitchener.

Michael Druker is from the US, but now makes his home in Kitchener-Waterloo after completing two degrees at the University of Waterloo. He is active on urban issues in Waterloo Region, including as part of the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG) and as a co-founder of Open Data Waterloo Region. Michael has served on the board of Community CarShare since 2010, and currently is Treasurer as well as chair of the Kitchener-Waterloo Action Committee.

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By jonathan (registered) | Posted April 05, 2012 at 21:54:31

An honest question...if I can rent a car for $20-30/day, drive up to 300km (or 3000 for an extra $10), and be picked up and dropped off at my door, what incentive does the CarShare offer over a rental car company?

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By mdruker (registered) - website | Posted April 05, 2012 at 23:52:27

For long-duration trips CarShare is not the clear choice, due to the pricing. The primary role is for trips that are less than a day, in which case members are billed less than for a day's rental. There is also less hassle in terms of picking up a familiar car on your own schedule, more quickly, and regardless of office hours. You don't have the car for any longer than you actually want it.

People do sometimes take cars for longer trips for various reasons. These can be familiarity, convenience, no credit card requirement (in the Classic Plan), and included collision insurance. The new Regular Plan daily rates are competitive for just having a car around town for a few days, i.e. not necessarily driving very far.

I should also add that the cost of gas is included in the rates.

Comment edited by mdruker on 2012-04-05 23:53:46

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By simonge (registered) | Posted April 07, 2012 at 00:44:55

Good point Michael. Car sharing and renting are not mutually exclusive. Car sharing is great for short trips. You can't rent a car for an hour or two. Car sharing makes cars available at a reasonable rate including gas and insurance. As someone who uses the Hamilton CarShare, I sometimes also rent cars for trips of longer duration (usually more than a day). As a matter of fact, my carshare membership gets me a corporate rate at Enterprise.

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