Car share co-op names TRU campus as potential location

The Interior CarShare Co-operative is making inroads in bringing car sharing to Kamloops, and TRU

InCar was at TRU on May 27 as part of TRU's department of environment and sustainability film series "Films for Change." (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

InCar was at TRU on May 27 as part of TRU’s department of environment and sustainability film series “Films for Change.” (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

As part of the Films for Change film series put on by TRU’s department of environment and sustainability, representatives from the Kamloops and Kelowna car share co-ops (InCar and OGO, respectively) hosted a showing of three short films about car sharing and the sharing economy.

InCar is currently looking to bring car sharing to TRU and Kamloops by the end of summer. Modelling itself after sister company OGO, InCar aims to bring a fleet of at least four vehicles to its members later this year. Unlike OGO, which has had problems attracting UBCO students because of the university’s distance from the city, InCar believes TRU’s location would be perfect for those students who live on or around campus and rarely drive as is.

Members of InCar can book a vehicle any time, although it is suggested they do it in advance. They pay both by the hour and by the kilometre, picking up a vehicle from a designated location in the city (many of which will be located near bus loops) and then going about their business. Once finished, the vehicle is returned to the original location. Most car share co-ops include the price of insurance, maintenance and fuel in their membership fees.

Although InCar is close to starting their car sharing program, they are currently only accepting applications for businesses and those who want to become shareholding members. As it stands, the cost of a shareholding membership is $500 plus a $25 application fee. Dylan Houlihan, executive director of InCar, said it may be a while before casual memberships are offered.

Casual memberships, when they’re offered, would cost $25 to apply with a $25 monthly fee. At InCar’s rates of $4 per hour plus 40 cents per kilometre driven, a student who drives 200 kilometres in 15 hours over the course of a month would pay $165. Comparatively, a student paying for car insurance ($150 per month), gas and parking at TRU ($62.50 per month) is likely looking at more than $250 per month to keep and use their own car.

Christian Brandt, executive director of OGO, admits, “It comes down to a matter of cost with students,” with memberships starting at $500, many students may shy away from InCar for this reason alone.

InCar also seeks to go where few car share co-ops have gone before. It plans to embrace Kamloops’ “truck culture” and offer pickup trucks as well.

Perhaps the greatest threat to InCar is the size of Kamloops. Even though Kelowna is larger, Kamloops is still not a small city. Those living in the greater Kamloops region would find it difficult to access vehicles in more remote or suburban areas of the city such as Juniper Ridge, Aberdeen and Bachelor Heights. Students without vehicles in these areas would probably find the public transit already in place more economical.

Although car sharing at UBCO was not as big a success as originally hoped for, Brandt said that OGO is negotiating with the UBCO student union to bring further car sharing to campus and that there are currently nine students who use the service.

Houlihan believes there is a chance for greater success at TRU than UBCO, but is still opting to take it slow.

“If there is a demand for two cars, then we’ll look into it. If there is a demand for five vehicles at TRU, we’ll look into it. We just don’t want to grow too quickly,” he said.

Although it may be a tough sell to local students who already own vehicles, those living on and around campus, especially international students, may find car sharing useful.

TRU student Matt Greenwood can’t see why the student union here wouldn’t want to get on board.

“They could work out a discount and sign on students and faculty,” he said.

Greenwood was one of the first students to call for car sharing at TRU.

“I was pushing really hard for a broader-based opening,” he said. His original suggestion was “to have a fleet of a bunch of older, used cars which could be utilized by a lot more people. They could be stationed at the city’s main bus loops at TRU, Lansdowne and the North Shore.”