Commentary

Hamilton CarShare to Launch Fleet of Cars

The Hamilton CarShare Advisory Committee members and their fellow members at Grand River CarShare form a non-profit cooperative of ambitious, enthusiastic, and, hardworking volunteers who know that carsharing works.

By Les Szamosvari
Published August 31, 2009

Hamilton CarShare is launching its first fleet of cars with a splendid media event on Wednesday, September 16, at The First Unitarian Church of Hamilton, 170 Dundurn St. S. The Unitarian Church is the place where members of the Advisory Committee for Hamilton CarShare first gathered to affirm their interest and commitment to organizing.

First, members and dignitaries will parade from the city parking lot at King St. West and Bay St. A ceremony will also mark the parking location at the city lot near King and Locke Streets. We will arrive at the Unitarian Church on Dundurn for a ribbon cutting and BBQ and interviews and gladfest.

This event will be announced on our website and through various Hamilton media outlets. We are planning to purchase two compact cars and a multi-purpose mini-van.

We are able to purchase this first fleet of three vehicles as we sign up 50 members. As membership grows we will purchase other vehicles and expand the carsharing network to serve members throughout the greater Hamilton area.

Carsharing Fulfills Transport Needs for All

According to Grand River CarShare members and Toronto's Autoshare, there is no specific demographical group which constitutes either organization's membership profile.

Carsharing fulfills transportation needs for all. For instance, station wagons and vans are available for moving more, and larger, objects; one can travel out of town, outside of intercity bus routes; members can use a vehicle from half an hour to several weeks.

While I was a Toronto Autoshare member, I used a car, once a week, to make home deliveries for my own business. I didn't have to be concerned about permanent parking, storage, gas, or, amortization. I got the 'whole glass of milk without having to buy the whole cow'. Every year I used an AutoShare vehicle to vacation with my family. Otherwise, GTA transit, and my bicycle, served other transport/transit needs.

These are the services which Hamilton CarShare provides. As well, members from Hamilton can reserve Grand River CarShare vehicles, and vice-versa, as we are the same cooperative group. Membership also entitles you to discounts from VIA Rail, Enterprise Car Rentals, and, GoodLife Fitness.

Corporate memberships are available for business and non-profit organizations who want to have a “virtual fleet” available to them through carsharing.

Multi-Modal Transportation

Carsharing opens another mode of transit and the freedom to use other modes. It supports and suggests the combined use of public transit and carsharing. Thus, this system brings business to public transit. We endeavour to situate parking locations near transit routes for efficient links. Another way in which our mandate is "member-centric".

CarShare has partners in rental car agencies and taxi companies for those times when our cars are not available. More people use these services because of this contra-deal. Parking locations are advantageous to nearby businesses as members are compelled to use their services. We create more work and employment for mechanics and garages which we select.

Members pay only for the driving they do, plus a fixed fee of $14/monthly for insurance. All one needs to get started is a one-time application fee of $25 per person, a fully-refundable membership fee, ($400/person, $500 for two drivers) and a relatively clean driver's abstract.

The Hamilton CarShare Advisory Committee members and their fellow members at Grand River CarShare form a non-profit cooperative of ambitious, enthusiastic, and, hardworking volunteers who know that carsharing works.

Through this example of 'people power' we can raise Hamilton's profile of a changing city with great "green" benefits.

For further Information, visit the Hamilton CarShare website, www.HamiltonCarShare.ca, or call (905) 543-4411.

Les Szamosvari was born and raised in Hamilton. He has held down many jobs, from lumberjack to massage therapist, across Canada. Presently, Les works as a chef and as a musician/songwriter and has used writing to promote businesses and in a role as socialist activist. Les returned to Hamilton in 2005 and has been exploring this peaceful, active city as well as lobbying for a Hamilton CarShare network since returning.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2009 at 13:05:32

About 20 people at an orientation event last night for this - my husband was there and is looking forward to the launch.

I also didn't know till last night that using the cars is free between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. (no hourly fee). That's a nice little bonus.

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