I’m really happy that I live in a city where it’s possible to get around without a car. Public transit is decent (at least in downtown – trying to get to Ikea in Richmond last weekend was a nightmare. Richmond is such a hole, but I digress), biking is possible year round and there are lots of bike lanes and trails around the city, and the downtown is dense enough that I can walk to almost everything I need on a regular basis.
That being said, there are times when having a car comes in handy. I’ve been keeping an eye on Craigslist lately, looking for a good used kitchen table and maybe a futon. But what would I do if I found one? I might try, but I don’t think I could use my bike to move it.
So, I bought a car. Well, not exactly. In reality, I bought part ownership in 140+ cars, trucks, and vans. I am now one of 2500 members in Vancouver’s car co-op. I have access to 7 hybrids, 3 mini-coopers, 5 VW Beatles, 27 minivans, and 10 trucks scattered throughout the Lower Mainland. That includes 12 cars within a few blocks walk of my house and one in my building’s parking lot. I couldn’t find any Smart cars in the fleet. Maybe they’ll add some soon.
I’m really excited about this. They have a slick web interface for booking cars. I already reserved the car in my parking lot of next Saturday to chauffeur my parents around when they’re here, and a Toyota Prius for Sunday to drive them back to the airport. I still plan on biking everywhere, but now I have the flexibility of having access to a vehicle when I need it.
I strongly recommend everyone look into this. Although car sharing is bigger in Europe, there are car sharing programs across North America – in Toronto, Montreal, Waterloo, Seattle, and New York.