Car Ownership

Big Muscles, Little CarI’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.

SunsetPink Sky at NightI 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.


    • $500 – deposit (refundable when you leave the co-op)
      $20 – one time administration fee to join
      $35/year – $0 deductible insurance (I could have taken the $500 deductible, but this seemed safer)
      Usage fees: $2 / hour plus a monthly and per km fee (based on which option is cheaper.
      Option 1 (Low usage): $6.25/month + $0.38/km
      Option 2 (Med usage): $15.00/month + $0.28/km
      Option 3 (High usage): $40.00/month + $0.18/km
      There’s also a fuel surcharge depending on how much gas costs – right now the surcharge is 5 cents/km.
      Those rates include renting the cars + insurance + gas + maintenance.
      There are some cool calculators on the sight that compare the costs to owning or leasing a car.


  1. Car Co-op
    Sounds great. I finally get to ride in my dream car, a Prius. But what is with the car in the picture, the one you are attempting to put in your back pocket and take home? Looks like an interesting ride, something like our ride to and from the Ponderosa this weekend. Kelsey, Dad and I in the truck. A cozy 6 hours of family bonding.
    See you next weekend,


  2. Hooray for carsharing! Here’s an update on the numbers, 7.5 years later: Modo has almost 10,000 members and drivers, who share more than 300 cars, trucks, mini-vans, cargo vans, hybrids and electrics at the lowest rates in Metro Vancouver. Vehicles are located across Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, UBC and Horseshoe Bay with new locations being added all the time.

    Happy sharing!


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