New initiative is a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative
Article: Paige Kreutzwieser – Staff Writer
An environmental initiative that started as just an idea in 2007 has turned into a co-operative business that is helping the citizens of Regina. Regina Car Share Co-operative is a transportation alternative that gives you access to a vehicle 24-hours of the day through their online booking system.
President of the car share co-op, John Klein, said it’s a great alternative to owning a vehicle. “It’s pretty much like owning your own car, but your car is parked just a little bit farther away.” It took a year into the project before the cooperative got their first vehicle. With provincial and federal grant money they were able to start up the business but the cash was not to be spent on capital purchases, meaning no cars.
“It came to the point where we were like we’ve got to get a car or we’ve got to give up,” Klein said. In 2008, out of his own pocket, Klein helped finance the first vehicle – a Kia.
About eight people were members at the time of the first car, and now the membership sits at about 35.
Klein said that membership has been growing steadily every year and that many members are new Saskatchewan residents who have used car share programs before. “They are familiar with it and they like not owning a car,” explained Klein who said these members tend to be from metropolitans like Toronto of Vancouver.
The car share’s second vehicle came through a condo development, which contacted the co-op with an interest in helping finance a car, “so a couple years later they came through and now we have a Fiat.”
Within the province, Saskatoon is the only other location known to have this type of initiative. “They are just trying to get a few more people lined up before they start operating,” explained Klein.
Both Regina and Saskatoon have for-profit car shares run by Enterprise. The U of R campus promotes the Enterprise car share – even boasting a parking spot, located in the Luther lot.
Klein admits Regina Car Share is a profit co-op, but laughed, saying “we haven’t made enough money to make a profit yet.”
What hindered the co-op in the beginning was borrowing from car share bylaws around the country. “The co-op laws elsewhere are a little bit different from here. The Information Services Corporation was like ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ So we had to bounce back and forth.
“It was quite the process to get started as a co-op in Saskatchewan back then.”
Klein explained that the two cars have shared out well. “A lot of our members are business members that use it during the business hours for their work. And the other members are using on the weekends and evenings.
“It’s very convenient for our members because they usually get the car when they go to book it.” The average use time during the day is roughly four hours.
The perks are admirable – members don’t pay for gas or insurance. And the cost is low – members pay for $0.25 per kilometer and the initial hour is $7, and only $5 for any additional hours. Membership is a onetime $25 fee, and $10 to SGI for safe-driver documentation.
For students, Klein explains that the Regina Car Share offers low cost benefits. “You don’t have to buy a parking space, which are hard to come by. “[With your own car] you are paying registration, you are paying insurance, tires, gas. Why deal with that nonsense when you can have it so much easier and have us take care of that for you.”
Cars are located in downtown Regina on 12th Ave and Broad St. and in the City Hall parkade.