Car sharing goes commercial

Friday, October 27th, 2006

TransLink major contributor to auto co-operative

Frank Luba

Yaletown landscape architect Chris Marshall enjoys sharing his Company Car with 2,708 other drivers. Photograph by : Gerry Kahrmann, The Province

Chris Marshall drives a company car — that he shares with 2,708 other drivers.

Marshall’s company, Yaletown landscape architects Durante Kreuk Ltd., decided this past summer to join The Company Car, a subsidiary of the Co-operative Auto Network.

Like individuals in the co-operative, companies can now avoid the hassles of owning, insuring and providing service for a vehicle while booking use of it almost any time they need it.

As of yesterday, there were 2,709 drivers registered with the co-op throughout the Lower Mainland with access to 142 vehicles that range in size from a Mini Cooper Classic to a seven-passenger minivan and a compact truck.

As more people join the co-op, more vehicles will be purchased.

Marshall doesn’t own a vehicle and lives close enough to work to use public transit.

“Having a car sitting in the parking lot most days of the week just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me,” said Marshall, 27.

But since joining The Company Car in July, he has used the service two to three times a week.

“What got us interested in it is probably 50 per cent of our office now is my age or younger and either don’t have vehicles or don’t drive in to work because of the difficulty parking downtown,” he said.

“Yet we often need to run out to a job site or go have a look at something.”

Marshall, for instance, has business in Langley, which is a long and expensive cab ride away.

While a Company Car isn’t parked right outside, Marshall said they’re near enough to still be convenient for business use — which is generally during the day.

“The main personal use is evenings and weekends,” he said. “During the day, for job-site visits, for us it’s quite convenient.”

While it has been slowly growing, The Company Car initiative will be officially launched today with the participation of TransLink and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

TransLink, always interested in getting people to think about other ways of getting around, has contributed $80,000 toward the program and $15,000 in on-board promotion while the federation has added $25,000.

There is a sliding scale to join the program. Firms with one to five registered drivers pay a one-time deposit of $500, with the cost rising to $1,000 for firms with between six and 25 drivers. Each driver is charged $20 to register and has the option to pay another $50 to get personal use of the vehicle.

Actually using the vehicle costs $6 per hour, or a maximum of $24 plus tax per day, for use between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.

More information about the program is available online at

© The Vancouver Province 2006

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