REPORT: Convenience, cost and environmental concerns drive B.C.’s car-sharing boom

Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C., Jan. 26, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vancouver has more car-sharing vehicles per capita than any other North American city, as local drivers seek alternatives to traditional car ownership.

A new Vancity report identifies reasons behind the rapid acceleration in the local car-sharing market, and describes what is needed to attract more car-share drivers. Changing Gears: exploring the car-sharing culture shift in Metro Vancouver reveals that more than one-quarter of 4,050 survey respondents disposed of at least one private vehicle as a result of car-sharing. Two-thirds of respondents began car-sharing in the last two years alone, while more than half now belong to at least two of the region’s four car-sharing programs.

Convenience is identified by 95 per cent of respondents as a reason they car-share. Saving money is cited by another 62 per cent, while older car-share members and people living on Vancouver Island—also part of the survey region—are most likely to cite the environment as a reason to car-share.

The report also found:

  • with about 3,000 vehicles, Vancouver’s car-sharing fleet easily eclipses the estimates of those in Canada’s two largest cities, Toronto (1,650) and Montreal (2,080)
  • psychological benefits attributed to car-sharing, including freedom and peace of mind, are cited more often than its practical benefits, such as getting errands done
  • the absence of ride-hailing alternatives such as Uber and Lyft gives people more incentive to car-share
  • only 44 per cent of the survey’s youngest respondents agreed they like not owning a vehicle and
  • only 12 per cent of all respondents said they car-share because they’d like to own a vehicle, but can’t afford it right now.

The advantages and benefits that car-sharing services offer drivers and the wider community in Metro Vancouver help explain their remarkable growth. The region can justifiably claim the title of North America’s car-sharing capital. For this growth to continue, local governments, the industry and real estate developers must all look for creative ways to improve access to car-share vehicles. More research is needed to quantify car-sharing’s “green” benefit.  

“This Vancity report demonstrates that the value we put on car ownership has changed, while alternatives such as car-sharing are the way of the future. Vancouver is already among the world’s top car-sharing centres, with thousands of local drivers using this affordable, convenient means of transportation. Indications are that car-sharing provides environmental benefits, but we need more research to determine the extent. In the meantime, as car-sharing grows in popularity, it’s important for car-sharing companies to continue to look for opportunities to incorporate low-emission vehicles into their fleets.”

Anthonia Ogundele, Vancity manager of environmental sustainability

Additional information
The Metro Vancouver Car Share Study, Technical Report, November 2014.

About Vancity
Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 523,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. With $25.6 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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For more information:
Brent Shearer | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394