One of the downsides of owning a car is the steep operating cost associated with it. Insurance alone can cost well over $1,000 per year for many, often putting car ownership out of reach. While biking, walking and taking the bus around town are all viable options, for some trips, sometimes a car is necessary.
About a year ago, Student Car Share set up shop in Peterborough and has proven to be very successful. Not long after the first car was unveiled at Trent University, a second car was added at the downtown transit terminal on Simcoe Street.
Student Car Share is the first car sharing service in Canada geared towards the transportation needs of community residents and students 18 or older. Despite the name of the company, you don’t have the be a student to be a member — anyone with a valid drivers license and good driving record who’s over the age of 18 can use the service.
Offering an affordable and environmentally savvy way to get around, Student Car Share provides members access to a network of Kia vehicles that can be reserved online or over the phone for as little as an hour or up to several days. Gas, insurance, and roadside assistance are included with each reservation.
A car-sharing opportunity gives people the chance to reduce household transportation costs significantly, by downsizing the number of cars in a household or by saving on insurance costs for young people. It’s possible to save a significant amount of money in insurance, gas, and other driving costs.
Getting access to these vehicles is as simple is following three easy steps.
First, you need to join Student Car Share. To join, just fill out their online application at studentcarshare.ca (choose Fleming College or Trent Unversity from the list) and allow five to seven business days for approval.
As an incentive to get more Peterborough residents using Student Car Share, anyone who signs up today and for the next three days will have the $75 membership fee waived. To get the discount, simply enter the code “greenup” during the signup process (see sidebar).
Once you’re approved, Student Car Share will mail you a welcome package and smart card. You’ll then have 24-hour access to their network of vehicles. The cost to use a vehicle starts at only $8 per hour.
Once you’re a member and approved to drive, you need to book a vehicle. Reserve the vehicle of your choice by using your student smart card to access the online booking system. You can plan your booking up to six months or as little as 15 minutes in advance.
Reservations can be made from your computer, smartphone, or by calling Student Car Share at 1-855-872-6393. You can reserve the car for a minimum of one hour to a maximum of four days.
The final step is picking up and driving your car. The smart card you were mailed with your membership also locks and unlocks your reserved vehicle. Use your card to unlock your vehicle, turn the ignition on and hit the road.
Once you’re driving, you’re reminded to use the gas card included with the vehicle if the tank drops below a quarter full. This makes sure the tank is full for the next person using the car.
Another benefit to having a car share membership is that you have access to cars that are in other cities as well. Student Car Share is operating in places like Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Windsor and a variety of other locations in Ontario, with members having access to any car in the network.
There are many great benefits to car sharing, particularly for our environment. These include:
- Reducing the number of vehicles on the road and parking demands in places like university campuses and downtown cores
- Encouraging the creation of more community green spaces, pedestrian walkways and biking
- Reducing the environmental impact of car ownership, including the toll on the air we breathe
- Saving energy by limiting resources spent on car manufacturing and the building of highway infrastructure.
Car sharing offers a convenient, affordable, and environmentally friendly transit option to residents of Peterborough. It’s great to see our community has embraced it and we should all look forward to more vehicles on our streets in the near future.