As Uber continues to make news (taxi medallions and licences are crashing in value), car sharing is blossoming.

Metro Vancouver has just released a report on car sharing in Vancouver:


Metro - carshare




Vehicle Reduction – On average, up to three private vehicles were shed per car share vehicle. When the avoidance of acquiring private vehicles was included, then each car share vehicle is estimated to have removed 5-11 private vehicles from the use of current car share households. Unlike avoiding an additional vehicle, not all vehicles that were shed would have been taken off the road permanently, as some would have been sold or transferred to other owners in the region or elsewhere.


Changes in Vehicle Kilometres Travelled (VKT) – About one-half of car share households with no vehicles prior to joining car share reported driving more after joining a program. In contrast, one-third of car share households with vehicles prior to joining a car share program reported a decline in driving after joining. Further investigation would be needed to understand the magnitude of the net change in vehicle kilometres travelled and implications for air emissions.


Apartment Households and Availability of Car Share Vehicles in the Neighbourhood – The number of car share vehicles within walking distance from home has a small but statistically significant relationship with apartment household vehicle holdings. This evidence points to the importance of acknowledging the number of car share vehicles within a neighbourhood (whether parked on-street or off-street) when promoting reductions in household vehicle holdings and adjustments to parking supply in new apartment developments.


Motivations for Joining Car Share – Survey respondents were asked to select their top 3 reasons for joining car share. Amongst all households surveyed, the most frequently cited reasons (each cited more than 1,000 times) were related to financial and mobility benefits:

  • cost savings compared to owning or leasing a vehicle
  • convenience of car share compared to transit
  • additional mobility provided by car share
  • availability of a car share vehicle near home.


Summary report here.




  1. A very useful concept, although I wonder which firm will fold first: ZipCar or Modo, as car2Go is so much more useful.

    I use Car2Go 2-3x a week and we indeed went from 2 cars to one when we moved here from Alberta 5+ years ago. Very useful concept is the one-way rental to go faster than bus, walk one way and take the car back, or decide if bus or Car2Go is better to go/fro downtown.

    I see a lot of Modo or ZipCars standing around which tells me they are not used all that much as they must be returned to the same spot, which is very restrictive, i.e. it makes it useful only for the weekly grocery haul or destination trip to pick up items or do a recurring, short meeting. Not really useful for trip that last multiple hours due to price, say a weekly Bridge game that might last 5 hours incl. trip to and fro.

    1. Thomas your wrong about Modo, its serves a completely different function. Car2Go is only economical for short durations, if you need a car for more than an hour or two Modo is way cheaper. In addition Modo offers a range a vehicle sizes for cargo transport, you can go out to IKEA in a tiny Car2Go.

      1. I understand that completely. How often does one go to Ikea though ? 1x/year ? once every 3 years ? Low usage.

        Where else does one go REGULARLY with Modo or ZipCar ? The gym ? grocery shopping ? to the weekly bridge/hiking/bowling/tennis event ?

        1. You want to get a bunch of errands done in 2-3 hours around the city, soil from the nursery (Kits), crock pot from Gourmet Warehouse (East Hastings), Home Depot, Lee Valley. I did it all last week using one of the many Modo cars near my apartment in the West End. My sister and I also use Modo to drive out to Langley to see our Relatives. Can’t do that with Car2Go, rental car too expensive, Transit not efficient for lugging stuff around. Get it?

          1. I do get it. My point is that far more people need to share one vehicle, say 100+ for it to make economic sense as what you describe is not happening very often, maybe 1x/month .. so I can see the value here if enough sign on .. but I dropped my Zipcar membership after a year. For that1x/year trip to Whistler I can go to Avis or Hertz.

            That is why you see so many Car2Go’s and so few Modo’s or ZipCars in the city ..

            Some more one-way rental cars, but bigger would be useful .. or ten companies like it so I can chose between cheap small car to high end luxury car depending on mood and occasion.

            BMW & Sixt formed an alliance called DriveNow: or here .. not yet in Canada though and just starting in USA .. so very late to the party.

          2. You don’t get it. You make assumptions about Modos success that are way off base and you have no clue about how many people use them as you don’t have a membership and don’t see the daily booking roster like we do. FYI Modo is a local COOP started as a grassroots organization that has grown every year and is doing very well thank you. If you cannot see that the difference in fleet number between Car2Go and Modo may have something to do with the capital costs of purchasing full size vehicles, trucks and vans by a small Vancouver company vs tiny 2 seat cars by a large Multinational car share then you truly don’t get it.

          3. Maybe go back and read your post and your assumptions about Modo. You offended me with your comments about Modo, I have a friends who work there and work very hard. I over reacted so I am sorry, but it does make me upset when hard working people are judged as not being successful. Lets leave it at that

  2. Just used Uber for the first time here in San Diego via a friends membership and it was great. Very Safe (Customer is registered with credit card and gets feedback, Operator is registered and again receives customer feedback). No fighting for fares (Closest Operator is automatically matched up with customer without other Uber drivers knowing. Its a win win. Vancouver needs to get on board.

  3. Also its perfect for dead areas for Taxi coverage, small vacation areas, one horse towns with one taxi scrambling everywhere.

  4. Scot B – agree with you about carsharing. I use Modo for trips to the local mountains or when I need to run several errands in different locations in a shorter amount of time. Car2Go is more useful for short one-way trips. They serve different purposes and trip types (Car2Go is technically not considered carsharing, according to industry organizations, but rather “short-term car rental”.) Transit and walking are my primary modes.

    Uber needs to work with governments to address issues of insurance/liability, as well as regulating drivers and vehicles, before they are allowed to enter the local market. It is telling that the company has been denied entry in Toronto and Montreal also – it is not a uniquely Vancouver issue.

    A simpler solution would be to increase the supply of taxis in Vancouver – we have too few per capita compared to many North American cities.

    1. The other barrier Uber needs to surmount is regulatory capture by the existing taxi companies, Benn Proctor’s thesis on this is really great:

      Uber could address all of the issues you mentioned (and they probably should), but that still wouldn’t be enough for the Passenger Transportation Board or many municipal governments.

      1. Because unions run this city and many others and anything bad for unions is opposed in far too many cities, such as Burnaby or Vancouver.

        Who cares about the consumer ? Voters and unions (funding campaigns) matter more.

  5. Interesting results. It hadn’t occurred to me that care share programs might actually increase car usage, as it seems to be doing for households with no vehicles. I suppose that makes sense, in that those households are paying for vehicle access which they did not previously have. If the majority of car share users do not have vehicles of their own, car sharing could actually increase vehicle use, albeit lower the total number of vehicles owned.

    It would also be interesting to know if there is a corresponding decrease in transit use among car share users.

    1. Given that there are vastly more car-heavy homes than car-light homes, mild increases in car use (especially at non-peak times) isn’t a huge issue at the system level.

      1. Agreed. At present ownership levels, this has the potential to reduce the total fleet.

        Also, even if total VKT remains similar with the growth of carsharing, the amount of driving could be distributed among fewer cars, so demand for parking (and potentially congestion) are noticeably reduced.

  6. That makes sense.
    Increase in car use for those for whom it is a greater convenience.
    Decrease in car use for those for whom it is a reduction in convenience.

    Also, I don’t think that “getting rid of a car” for car share necessarily reduces usage – it would be case specific (depending on whether an owned car sat around unused most of the time anyways).

  7. We are a two car household. I joined car2go as soon as it launched, out of curiosity and the need for blog content. The main use we make of car2go is for one way trips which makes our walks longer and more interesting. Going back the same way we came is always a bit dull. Taking a car2go downtown saves paying for parking – but is often less convenient than taking the bus. If #16 was a more frequent and reliable service, car2go would not really be competitive on price for a senior – as finding a car is increasingly a problem, as is finding somewhere convenient to leave it. I am looking forward to the day when car2go drives itself – which will make it the perfect replacement for taxis.

    I won a years free membership in Modo. I have never been able to use it. There are no cars parked anywhere near where I live, and I have not had a reason to rent a car. I took my key fob back recently as there is no point paying the recently introduced monthly fee for service I won’t use.

    When visiting other cities that have car2go – such as Denver – the lack of vehicles is a major deterrent. Bike share in the centre worked well. Car share in sprawling suburbs, not so much.

    One car in our household is used for commuting. The other stays parked underground most of the time. But selling it would raise little and the annual cost of insurance and upkeep is tolerable for its usefulness. Often as an unpaid chauffeur service for friends and family.

  8. I used the Provincial program when my car was dying and took it to the dump in exchange for $1000 worth of car sharing time with car2go. It allowed me to basically use the service for free for 2 years. It’s awesome. I still use it all the time. Yes, you can’t take more than one person and isn’t good for longer trips, but to get from a to b and just walk away, it’s fantastic.

    Uber is also great, I’ve used it in LA.

    We are so funny here… in some ways so ‘progressive’ and in other ways we’re so ridiculously behind the times.

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