Urban car sharing gets a test-drive in Kelowna - InfoNews

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Urban car sharing gets a test-drive in Kelowna

Two parking stalls in the downtown parkade beside Memorial Arena will be dedicated for members of a car sharing program that pay a fee to access a vehicle if and when they need it.
April 30, 2013 - 9:48 AM

The Okanagan Car Share Co-op will be getting three free parking stalls from the City of Kelowna. The one-year pilot project is set to launch at the end of May, giving prospective commuters the option to buy into a shared car service membership.

Two of the parking spots are located in the memorial arena parkade and the third on South Pandosy beside the Original Joe's restaurant.

Regional Program Manager Jerry Dombowsky says the car share is designed to cut down on urban vehicle use.

“It reduces the number of vehicles in any particular area and also reduces demand for roads and infrastructure, people tend to drive less as well,” he says.

The downtown car co-op will cost the city $46 per month per stall, with the two spaces totalling $1,114 a year. But Dombowksy says the loss in parking fee revenues is negligible and can be recovered in other neighbouring lots.

City councillors embraced the pilot project as a highly desirable option for Kelowna residents. Coun. Colin Basran said it's a great alternative to buying a vehicle.

“Anyone interested should get behind this, the initial purchase is $500 but if you leave the program you get that money back. The savings are tremendous,” he says.

Car share programs are increasingly popular in bigger cities like Vancouver and Portland. Coun. Luke Stack anticipates Kelowna will have a similar success story, and will be looking at a growing demand for stalls in the coming years.

The car share project was approved for a one-year test run. Coun. Gail Given suggested the service will be most appealing to younger generations that can't afford to purchase a vehicle, and a practical alternative for families not wanting a second vehicle.

“It's a great way for young people to move forward, to not have to have a vehicle,” she said.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at jwhittet@infotelnews.ca or call (250)718-0428.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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