Car Sharing services have become an essential model of urban transportation over the past decade, having completely changed generational mindsets about car ownership and travel. The full-time car is going out of style as alternative modes of transportation that are cheaper, practical and way more sustainable become available. Typically car sharing services stick to urban areas, but Brampton actually has one too! It’s called Community CarShare, and we’re totally stoked about it. Some much needed cool points for Brampton? We think so.

Community CarShare was founded in 1998 as Ontario’s first car sharing program. The currently operate over 50 vehicles in cities across Ontario, even in some rural areas. Here’s how it works:

– Join Community CarShare – Choose a plan based on your driving needs, casual or frequent. Plans range from $5-$40 monthly and include the cost of insurance and gas.
– Reserve the car you’d like online or by phone if you don’t have access to a computer up to 30 minutes before you need it.
– Pick up your car at the reserved parking lot located at 11 Church Street West (Just steps from public transit) The first four hours of usage range from $5-$8 depending on your monthly plan (Additional hours are $1/hour)
– Drive it, and return it when you’re done.

Pretty cost effective right? When you weigh the cost of total car ownership versus utilizing a car share, the difference is startling, to say the least. To operate a full time car for a year, it can cost an average of $5,000 when you factor in insurance, financing, gas and repairs. In contrast, the cost of using a car share costs around $600 a year. Yes, you’re reading that right. If you took advantage of car sharing, you could save thousands of dollars a year!

In the past living in Brampton, or any suburban city for that matter, meant that you needed a car to get anywhere or you were stuck using the less than stellar, sometimes erratic public transit system. Even though services are much improved now, getting to some places in the city still isn’t easy. But car sharing has essentially democratized travel by making getting around efficiently more affordable for a wider range of people.

The cost of living is only rising and some people just can’t or don’t want to make the financial commitment of a full-time car. A low-income family could utilize car sharing for necessary trips like getting the kids to the doctor or going to a job interview. A freelancer who works from home can use it for occasional meetings. Both without having to commit to the burden of insurance, car payments and other related costs.

It’s estimated that one shared community car can replace as many as 6 owned cars, this could significantly improve congestion in and around the city. The 410 and other main city streets are only going to get more crowded as the city grows. It would also mean a significant reduction in the city’s overall emissions if people utilized the public transit system more and used car sharing to fill in the gaps.

There’s definitely room for Community CarShare to grow in Brampton and a growing car share only means good things for the local economy as well. Car-sharing members generally only use services when necessary, so for trips to grocery store, going out for dinner or to a show, they’ll stay local. This equates to more support for businesses in the city by keeping money circulating in the local economy.

Tell us what you think. Is an expanding car sharing service beneficial for Brampton? Would you ever consider retiring your full-time car?

Sources: City Car Share