News » Whistler

Car share program hits the road June 1

Two vehicles available for four-month test period



Public transportation, bicycles and inline skates are great, but sometimes you’re going to need a car, or even a second car.

It doesn’t make sense economically or environmentally to buy a new vehicle for those occasional trips to the recycling depot or to the store – according to Vancouver-based Co-Operative Auto Network (CAN) it costs $8,500 a year to drive the average car in the Lower Mainland once you factor in the cost of gas, insurance, maintenance and depreciation.

And that estimate was made before gas prices surged in recent months.

Starting on June 1, CAN will be offering Whistlerites an opportunity to use one of two co-op cars, a Ford Focus wagon and a Honda Civic Hybrid. Both cars will be outfitted for the season, with a bike rack in the summer and ski racks and snow tires in the winter.

With support and sponsorship from AWARE, the RMOW and the Whistler Housing Authority, CAN agreed to this pilot project in April. It will run for four months, after which point the project will be re-evaluated. The plan is to keep it going for a year, after which point the sponsors are hoping the program will be self-supporting.

Emma DalSanto, the traffic demand management co-ordinator for the RMOW, says response has been positive so far.

"There have been a lot of calls and interest. Not many people have registered yet, but this is Whistler so we don’t expect anyone to register until the last minute," she said.

"We’ve done a cost comparison for short trips, and it’s very economical to drive around town. You would need to do a few calculations before you drove to the city if you had a lot of errands to do, because the kilometres add up, but it’s pretty reasonable to get there and back."

The cost of participating includes a one-time registration fee of $25 and a monthly administration fee based on your average use – the average is about $12.50 a month. Once you are a member, you can rent the vehicles for $1.75 an hour (up to $21 per day) and a small fee per kilometre. That includes gas, maintenance and insurance.

On Monday, May 31 there will be an information and registration sessions for the Whistler Car Sharing Program in RMOW council chambers from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone who could use a car from time to time is invited to attend, learn more about the program, and sign up.

People who do sign up will be given a personalized card-key to access the vehicle and will be able to start driving once they have confirmation from ICBC that they are licensed to drive. Drivers will also need to show that they haven’t caused an accident in the last three years or been slapped with more than three speeding tickets in the last five years.

One of the cars will be located at the Whistler Housing Authority building at Beaver Flats and the other in the library-museum parking lot.

Once that information has been collected, users will be able to go online at the Co-Operative Auto Network and book the cars. The card-key system ensures that the car is there for you at the time you book it.

To learn more about the Co-Operative Auto Network visit or drop by the information session on Monday.