December 04, 2013 - 8:28 AM
KELOWNA - Cruising via Kelowna’s new car share program is gaining popularity.
Since its official launch in August, Okanagan Car Share Co-op “OGO” has doubled its members, now over 60. There’s enough demand that the program is looking to add a third vehicle (a pick-up truck), something executive director Christian Brandt expects will soon become a reality thanks to a grant from the City of Kelowna.
“A lot of people don’t need to own a pick-up because it’s used only a few times a year,” Brandt says. “They can avoid the high fuel and ownership costs.”
OGO’s goal is to provide Kelowna residents with a cheap, convenient, and environmentally friendly alternative mode of transport. Many people can go without owning a car, and many others could get by without their second vehicle, Brandt says.
Becoming a member costs a one-time $500 fee. After that, you can book one of OGO’s vehicles (stationed in designated parking spots downtown Kelowna) minutes or days before you need it. Usage charges are $4 per hour and 40 cents per km and 25 cents after 50 km. When you’re done, you pop the car back in its spot, just like returning a library book, Brandt says.
It’s perfect for people like Brandt who live close to work and can supplement with bike riding and public transit. Brandt says most of the members are between 20 and 40 years old and typically use the program for grocery shopping, weekend drives and touring visitors around the area.
“Personally, I don’t want to own a vehicle and have all those ownership costs,” Brandt says. “I don’t want to be tied to a vehicle.”
Who doesn’t cringe at monthly insurance payments and unexpected maintenance costs? Yet, most continue to depend on their own cars to get themselves around.
“If you’ve owned a vehicle for 40 or 50 years, you may not embrace the concept (of car-sharing),” Brandt says.
However, he insists it’s a workable, convenient and money-wise option that’s being adopted throughout the world. And it’s definitely catching on in the Okanagan.
“In the long-term, we’d like to go to other communities—Vernon, Penticton,” Brandt says. “We’d like to see cars across the valley.”
Visit OGO’s website for more information or to join.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call(250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013