“I always like to get the monthly statement that showed on the bill how much money you saved from having only your car,” said Wendy Hardman, a former RCSC member. “It was usually like 600-and-something dollars. I didn’t need a car a lot. So that was the ideal solution for me because you only pay for what you use.”
The RCSC has a fleet of both electric and non-electric cars. As gas prices continue to rise, John Klein, president of the RCSC, says prices to use their electric vehicles won’t go up.
“We haven’t had to change our prices for a number of years,” said Klein. “We’ve built in a little bit of cushion if gas prices fluctuate because more than half of our fleet is electric. We have savings from that we can pass on to our members. That’s part of our mission as a co-operative, to put our earnings back into making our members’ lives more easy.”
The prices on their non-electric cars will not change either.
“The board hasn’t discussed raising rates on non-electric cars,” said Klein. “We likely don’t have to as our rate structure ought to cover a temporary rise in the price of gas.”
The electric cars do come with some limitations, though.
“The only limitation is distance,” said Jory Cadman, an RCSC board member. “The cars we have in the car share can go about 130 kilometres on a charge. So obviously that wouldn’t work for like a road trip but for in the city it’s great.”
Klein says many people do not know about car sharing or the RCSC. He said many of their new members come from cities such as Toronto and Vancouver because they have used a car share there and know how convenient it is and how much money it saves them.
“It can save the typical member thousands of dollars in a year,” said Klein. “Because they aren’t paying for registration and purchasing a car and all the upkeep and the gasoline.”
The RCSC started operations in 2008. It was launched by a group of people who were interested in finding a way to reduce fuel emissions in the province. More people sharing cars means less pollution in manufacturing cars and running them.
“It works out really well because I’ve never owned my own car,” Cadman. “But I still do need a vehicle sometimes. I prefer to bike or walk or use public transit but every once in a while, I have something I need to do with work or just picking up, like, groceries or other things. So having access to a car every once in a while is perfect for me and my husband as well.”
This is how the RCSC membership works.
“You buy a share because it’s a co-operative, and then you sign up on the website,” said Hardman. “So that you can access the book, the car, the cars that are available, or the car of your choice. So I just did that and then I could see I chose the car that was closest to me.”
The members pay a monthly fee.
“They can choose either a $10 or $40 a month option and which one they choose affects how much they pay per hour and per kilometre,” said Klein.
You make an appointment depending on the day or the week the car will be available, and when it is not, you cannot access the cars.
“There’s privacy and you don’t know who’s using it, but you just know it’s not available,” said Hardman. “I estimate what I need and how long I think I’m going to need it and I can always dial in on my phone and extend it for half an hour if I needed it or longer. So it’s really flexible.”