Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Trying out car sharing!

Usually when you think about moving outside of the city, you think about being more reliant on your car. But one of the best things that has come out of our new neighbourhood is the ability to move down to a one-car household.

Since I switched to our downtown office back in January, I haven’t actually been driving my car. 95% of the time, my car has just sat there unused. And since RD’s work has a very good carpool program, most of the time he wasn’t driving his car either. The only time we actually use our cars is when we’re together on the weekends.

Being within a 5-10 minute walk of a SkyTrain station was a requirement when we started looking for condos, and luckily we now live approximately 10 seconds away from one. So in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be selling RD’s car and putting that money into our joint account (which likely end up as an additional payment towards the mortgage – but that’s another post for another time).

Our transportation expenses will end up going way down because now we’ll be sharing the cost of insurance and maintenance on just one car. We’re still figuring out how we will share gas expenses, as RD will be doing most of the driving with his commute to work.

But of course there’s a downside to not having two cars, and it’s that we don’t have two cars. If it’s RD’s turn to drive the carpool or if he’s working a longer day than normal, that means I don’t have access to a vehicle if I need to go somewhere that isn’t practical by public transportation (for example my doctor is in Port Coquitlam!). So I’ve been contemplating joining a car share program for a while now.

In New Westminster, I had three options to choose from – Modo, ZipCar, or Evo.

Modo

  • $10 one-time registration fee
  • $8 monthly fee
  • $8 per hour (max $64 per 24 hours, $24 max between 7pm-9am)

ZipCar

  • $25 one-time registration fee
  • $70 annual fee
  • $7.75 to $9 per hour ($73-89 per day)

Evo

  • $35 one-time registration fee (waived for BCAA members)
  • $2 annual fee (donated to charity)
  • $0.41 per minute, $14.99 per hour ($89.99 per day)

I ended up going with Evo because even though the hourly rates were better with Modo and ZipCar I don’t think I’ll need to use a car enough to justify Modo’s monthly fee or ZipCar’s annual fee. Plus, I was at an event last night where I got the $35 one-time registration fee waived and 45 minutes of free driving time. :)

A huge bonus of being part of a car sharing program is the ability to drive to the airport without spending a million years taking transit downtown and then back out to the airport, or spending the money for a taxi. And conveniently, there’s an Evo parking lot just outside of our building. I’m really looking forward to seeing how car sharing fits into my lifestyle, and how often I actually end up using it.

Does anyone else use a car sharing program? Any experience using Evo?

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


Comments

  1. Mr. FAF and I own only one car, and he’s the only one driving it. I live in Washington DC, where public transit seems to be the default mode of transportation.

    Mr. FAF has a student account with Zipcar, but he told me it’s still much more expensive than owning a car. I just walk or take the train or bus when I need to go somewhere.

  2. KC says:

    One thing to keep in mind is that car availability may fluctuate during peak times so if you know that you have an appt out of town, reserve asap. I’ve been told from friends during the winter, it’s harder to secure a car as people don’t want to walk in the winter. Obviously, Vancouver is much milder but definitely seomthing to keep in mine.

    Also, the time paid per hour seems a bit high. Have you tried comparing the taxi (and/or uber) fees to the car-sharing? If Evo comes out ahead, then great!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I think with Evo I’m able to reserve 30 min. ahead of time – which isn’t very much, but I’ve been playing around with the app during different times of the day and it seems like there’s always at least one within a 5 min. walk. I’ll keep monitoring, but yeah you’re right it would be annoying to not be able to find one during peak times or if I really need to be at an appointment.

      Also yes the time per hour is definitely higher than most other care share companies I looked at. But it’s because there is no monthly/annual fee, and they also have bike/ski racks installed on their cars which likely adds to the cost because it’s unique. A taxi would be much more expensive round trip for most places, and unfortunately we don’t have Uber yet in Vancouver. :( If I find a cheaper solution I’ll definitely look into it!

      • Carol says:

        I’m an Evo and Car2go member. I found that Evo’s cars are reliable and their customer service is a lot better than Car2go. Also, pro tip, right now you can re-book an Evo car if it’s coming up on that 30 min expiry. Just cancel and book the same car right away and you get another 30 mins. The app is pretty fast so it usually isn’t a problem, but I wonder if their programmers will eventually change this because Car2go doesn’t let you re-book the same car. I’m not sure if you considered this, but if you are planning on using Evo to drive to your doctor’s office in PoCo, you’ll need to pay for the whole time you use the car, including your time at the doctor’s office, because you can’t end your rentals there. Anyway, I’ve been a long time reader and really find your blog relatable. :)

        • Krystal Yee says:

          Thanks for your comments on Evo vs. Car2go. Good to know about Evo being able to book the same car right away if I’m running over the expiry time! I’ll remember that for next time and hopefully it still works. :) Yes I did take into consideration that since Poco is out of Evo’s home zone, I would have to pay for the entire time. Which is ok, because my doctor is always on time, and it’s still the cheapest way to get there. It’s a bit annoying but I only have to go twice a year.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I take transit to work and my partner drives our car to work in the winter (bikes in the summer) and we split the cost of insurance, gas, maintenance, and my bus pass proportionally.

    It made sense that way for us even though I’m paying more for the car then I typically would use it.

    I also buy more cheese, so it evens out.

  4. Jordann says:

    I’m interested to hear how your experience pans out! My husband and I have been a one-car family forever, but lately, I’ve been eyeballing car share options near me. There are some situations where I need the car (similar to you, my Dr. is far away) and if it’s during his work hours I have to get up at 5:00 am, drive him to work so I can have the car, and go pick him up at 2:30 pm. Obviously, that is a huge hassle that car share would solve.

    I probably won’t get serious about it until/if I have a kid, but it’s good to see someone else making use of this option!

  5. Allison says:

    We’ve always been a one-car family and we hope to keep it that way (even with one toddler and another kid on the way). We’re in Calgary and many people think we’re crazy for only having one car as it’s a big driving city. We use Car2Go when we need another vehicle, which is actually pretty rare.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      That’s amazing, good for you guys! I’m sure it must be tough logistically sometimes with one car and kids, but really nice to hear that you’re making it work with car sharing when you need it. I don’t think we’ll need to use it that often either, but nice to have the option and that little bit of freedom anyway. :)

  6. AlphaTrading says:

    I really like the idea of Ride Sharing. But does it really work in Joint Families?

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