The ultimate guide to car sharing in Vancouver

photo Geoff Lister / The Ubyssey

The weather is beautiful and the beaches, hikes, shopping, museums and everything else Vancouver has to offer are calling, but how do you get there? The UPass is nothing but a distant memory at this point in the summer and you just can’t force yourself to dish out the $91 a month for a one-zone. That’s fine, because Vancouver is a Canadian hotspot for car sharing.

Let’s take a look at your options: Evo, Car2Go, ZipCar and Modo. What do each of them offer? How do they work?

Car2Go

Probably the most recognizable car sharing program in Vancouver, the white and blue Smart cars are zipping around every corner. With 1,275 cars on Vancouver roads — including 25 new four-door Mercedes — one of the biggest bonuses of joining Car2Go is that they are everywhere. UBC has its own parking sections by Gage Towers, on Lower Mall and in some of the parkades. Even off campus, I see one on my street at least once a week. No matter where you go in the “Home Area” (the area where you can drive or park the car), you almost always have the option of finding a car within a five- to 10-minute walk.

The one-way driving plans mean you have a lot more freedom over your trips as you can park wherever allowed, not just in the location you picked it up from. You can drive to the bar and taxi home without worrying about parking or picking your car up in the morning. The home base includes most of Vancouver and some of North Vancouver and Burnaby with parking at Horseshoe Bay (for an extra fee), Grouse Mountain and YVR (again for an extra fee).

Downsides include the limited space in the Smart cars — two people only — and there have been some complaints about the cars being jumpy. Other than those, there are also the usual issues that all of these car sharing programs will have — hard to plan ahead, can’t guarantee you will have a car when you need it and the lack of security when it comes to what state you’ll find the car in.

Sam Barringer / The Ubyssey

Fees:

Registration Fee: $35 (one time, but there is usually a deal for students to get this waived)

Annual Fee: $2/year

Driver Protection Fee: $1+tax per trip for your first 90 trips in a year

AND

$0.41/minute OR $14.99/hour OR $84.99/day

Note: Trips lasting over eight hours are subject to an extrq $1.50 charge and trips over 200 km are charged $0.45 per extra kilometer


Evo

The original four-door car sharing program. You get a backseat, a bike/ski rack, a trunk and a full-size car. With over 500 hybrid cars in Vancouver, Evo gives you the full-sized cars of ZipCar and Modo with the one-way trip flexibility of Car2Go.

The “Home Zone” includes most of Vancouver with free parking satellite zones at YVR, Grouse Mountain, Metrotown, UBC (North and Thunderbird parkade being the most popular) and other schools. Evos are still pretty popular and chances are you can find a car when you need it — I have a co-worker who Evos to work every day and has never had a problem getting a car. The cars seem to run a bit smoother than the Car2Go Smart cars as well.

As a bonus, if you’re a BCAA Member, you get free registration and a 10 per cent discount on driving rates.

Sam Barringer / Ubyssey

Fees:

Registration Fee: $35 (one time, and again you can get this waived if you wait for a deal)

Annual Fee: $2/year

AND

$0.41/minute OR $14.99/hour OR $89.99/day

Note: Again, there's a $1.50 charge if your trip takes longer than eight hours and a $0.45 per kilometer rate over 200 km a trip.

 

ZipCar

ZipCars are a round-trip car sharing service, meaning you have to return the car to the place you picked it up. ZipCar is testing out one-way trips, but that hasn’t rolled out yet. What you lose in flexibility though, you gain in reliability. You can count on a car to be at a certain spot at some point and you can reserve your car farther in advance. If you know exactly what you’re using the car for and how long it will take, ZipCar may be for you.

Membership goes a little differently for ZipCar. Not only do you get to be a super hip “Zipster” (I swear ZipCar, if you try to be cool one more time…), but you can chose what type of plan you want to sign up for.

Sam Barringer / The Ubyssey

An “Occasional Driving Plan” has the following fees:

Application Fee: $25

Annual Fee: $35/year

AND

Monday through Thursday: $7.75/hour OR $76/day ($0.30 per kilometer over 200 kilometers a day)

Friday through Sunday: $9/hour OR $79/day ($0.30 per kilometer over 200 kilometers a day).

A “Monthly Driving Plan” has the following fees:

Application Fee: $25

AND

Monday through Thursday: $7.75/hour OR $76/day ($0.30 per kilometer over 200 kilometers a day).

Friday through Sunday: $9/hour OR $79/day ($0.30 per kilometer over 200 kilometers a day).

Minimum Monthly Charge: $7/month

The “Extra Value” plans are good if you know how much you’ll be driving (ie. “I’ll only be driving to work four days a week”) because you pretty much pre-pay for your time each month. You get a 10 per cent discount on rates. Once you reach your monthly commitment, you continue with the discounted rates, but any unused commitments do not roll over to the next month unless you commit to at least $125 per month. You have the choice of a $50, $75, $125 or $250 monthly commitment. Rates are as follows:

Application fee: $25

Monday through Thursday: $6.98/hour OR $68.40/day ($0.27 per kilometer over 200 kilometers a day)

Friday through Sunday: $8.10/hour OR $71.10/hour ($0.27 per kilometer over 200 kilometers a day).

 

Modo

Modo is last on our car sharing exploration, but it has the most diverse car fleet. With over 500 sedans, sports cars, cargo vans, trucks and minivans, Modo isn’t the standard fleet you see in other car sharing programs. You can book in advance because it is a round-trip system, meaning that truck you want to help you move? You don’t need to rent it. The minivan to fit your huge group of friends? Book it ahead of time. A road trip to Portland? Modo can actually go over the border — something most of the other car sharing programs don’t allow. You can book up to 30 days on your reservation so road trips are actually totally welcome.

It’s more convenient, but it’s also more expensive. While most of the other car sharing programs are just pay-as-you-go, Modo acts as a co-op and can be a little more money upfront. There are two plans, the Monthly Membership and the Modo Plus Membership. Prices are as follows:

Sam Barringer / The Ubyssey

Monthly Plan:

Registration Fee: $10

Monthly Fee: $5

AND

$8/hour (to a max of $64 in 24 hours with a max of $24 between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.) OR $12/hour for oversized or premium vehicles (to a max of $96 in 24 hours)

$0.25/km after 200 km per booking

Modo Plus Membership:

Share Purchase: $500 (refundable when you close your account)

AND

$4/hour (to a max of $40 in 24 hours,with a max of $12 between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.) OR $8/hour for oversized or premium vehicles (to a max of $80 in 24 hours)

$0.40/km for the first 40 km, $0.20/km after that.

PLUS if the monthly rate is better, you will be charged that.

 

All of the car sharing programs require their drivers to meet certain driving regulations, which vary, but are pretty standard. You must be older than 19 years old, have a valid licence, no at-fault accidents, licence suspensions or more than two traffic citations in the last two years. You must get a driving record either from ICBC or your home province or country.

Happy driving and please don’t hit anyone.