Kamloops CarShare Set to Launch
Kamloops is a city that’s growing by leaps and bounds each year, and not just in population numbers—the cultural mindset is evolving too. Once very car dependent, people in Kamloops are starting to question alternative ways to get around.
Enter the Interior CarShare Cooperative (InCar), a car sharing initiative established in 2014 with a vision to provide a new economical and environmentally friendly transportation option for the community.
InCar has already gained support from several organizations in Kamloops including Urban Systems, Interior Savings Credit Union, BC Hydro, Enterprising Non-Profits and others. They plan to launch operations with a two-vehicle fleet as early as spring 2015.
Dylan Houlihan, a Community Planner with Urban Systems’ office in Kamloops, is currently acting president of InCar. Dylan has worked in land use planning, economic development, environmental sustainability, community engagement and clean energy planning for First Nations communities and says that working on the car share initiative has been particularly inspiring.
“Kamloops is in transition with ideas like the car share. Ten years ago it would have been a no-go, but now the city is evolving and growing and we think it’s feasible. This project aligns so well with Urban’s higher calling of vibrant communities that are less car dependent.”
Why Car Sharing Makes Sense
Car sharing involves a group of people sharing the cost and access of a fleet of vehicles.
There are several great reasons car sharing adds up, from economic and environmental benefits to improved social connectivity.
From an economic standpoint, owning and maintaining your own car or truck is probably more expensive than you realize. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) estimates that it costs about 64.7 cents a kilometer to drive a new private vehicle. That’s about $7,750 each year (based on 12,000 km / year).
As people start to tune into its many benefits, carsharing is taking off in North America. Between July 2011 and July 2012, carsharing membership grew 44.0 percent in the United States and 28.7 percent in Canada. In British Columbia there are several successful carshare co-ops currently operating including: Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, the Kootenays, and Kelowna.
Is Kamloops Really Ready for a Carshare?
InCar’s initial survey says yes. Over 200 individuals responded to the survey and showed keen interest—particularly those living downtown and on the North Shore. InCar is using this information to help plan their launch, which will likely begin in those two areas of the city.
“It’s an interesting challenge to see the change in the mindset of Kamloops citizens who were once set on owning their own vehicle,” says Dylan. “We’re proud to be bringing diversity to the travel options in our city—a car share is ultimately more sustainable than private car ownership, and we see it as a community building activity,” says Dylan.
InCar is currently still working hard at market research and answering questions around which vehicles to purchase, where to put them and what the best way will be to formally launch. Their current focus is to build up a pool of 35 – 40 founding shareholding members (anyone with a clean driving record who is 19 or older can apply) and they are continuing to apply for grants and look for partnerships that can help us grow.
“It’s a fun process,” says Dylan. “We are really learning about the best ways to do this, and what we’ve learned is that we need to run it like a business. We’re taking lessons from nearby successes like Kelowna’s Ogo Car Share and more.”
Interested in learning more or singing up? Visit the InCar website here.