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Community Cooperation Brings Carsharing to Hamilton

Following a Canadian tradition of carsharing, Hamilton residents have come together to add the service to the city's transportation mix.

By Janet MacLeod
Published May 01, 2009

Hamilton CarShare, the city's first carsharing co-operative, will officially launch this weekend at the annual MayDay Street Festival on Saturday, May 2, held on King William St, (between James St. N and Hughson St. N.) from 11am-11pm.

Following a Canadian tradition of carsharing (there are carsharing organizations in Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Halifax to name a few), Hamilton residents have come together to add the service to the city's transportation mix.

Hamilton CarShare was formed in late April in cooperation with Grand River CarShare of Waterloo Region, which has been serving that area for 11 years. Hamilton residents decided to work with Grand River CarShare to accelerate the introduction of carshare vehicles onto their streets. The non-profit co-operative will initially place three vehicles in the community for shared use.

"Combining an enthusiastic group of new members in Hamilton with more than a decade of experience in Waterloo Region, we are expecting Hamilton CarShare to be very successful early on," Jason Hammond, President of the co-operative, said.

"With the recession hitting hard and continuing deep concern for our climate, carsharing is an idea whose time has come for Hamilton."

What has transformed into Hamilton CarShare started as a project between Green Venture, Clean Air Hamilton and First Unitarian Church two months ago, and a dedicated group of Hamilton residents have formed the basis of the Hamilton co-operative.

“It's moving so quickly because people are working together and everyone is contributing their skill set, and that's what a co-operative is,” Sapphire Singh, CarShare Project Coordinator at Green Venture, said.

Carsharing co-operatives operate a fleet of vehicles available to members on self-serve pay-per-use basis. Reservations for carshare vehicles can be made for as little as 30 minutes, or as long as needed. Members are billed monthly for insurance and vehicle use, and gas and vehicle maintenance costs are included in the co-op's rates.

Carsharing is a new link in Hamilton's urban transportation system—it's a great alternative to owning your own vehicle, helps households save money on transportation costs, and helps improve air quality through reduced tailpipe emissions.

Hamilton residents interested in joining Hamilton's carsharing co-operative can visit http://www.hamiltoncarshare.ca, e-mail info@hamiltoncarshare.ca, or call 905-543-4411.

Janet MacLeod is the operations coordinator of Grand River Carshare and Hamilton Carshare.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 12:16:36

Carsharing? Janet what are you saying? Are people's transportation needs not entirely being met by the HSR, GO Transit or the upcoming saviour of saviours LRT? Don't let Jason and Ryan find out about this!

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 13:02:35

Ryan, all I see on this site is:

CARS = BAD
WALKING, CYCLING, BUS, TRAIN = GOOD

Why don't you ever have somebody on this site contribute an article that has a different view from you and Jason? e.g. I have never seen an article on this site written by someone who was in favour of RHVP and was able to give valid reasons for its construction.

That is what I call debate.

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 01, 2009 at 13:56:47

capitalist -- it looks like you have just volunteered to write just the article!

i believe i am correct in saying that anyone can submit articles to RTH for publication. A Smith has been invited to write something outlining his argument many times. however, he has yet to do so.

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By Crapitalist (anonymous) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 15:04:55

"If you have another perspective, write it up and submit it." LOL don't hold your breath. It's much easier to sit on the sidelines and snipe.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 15:31:43

The viewpoint is not one of cars bad, bikes good...it's one of bringing the proper balance, and offering citizens the freedom to use other modes. This ability benefits society in addition to the economy. As things stand, the culture which puts cars first, above all other options is exacting massive costs on our society, not to mention the impacts on neighbourhoods and our social fabric in general.

For an interesting view, check out this piece from the US...Why Conservatives Should Care About Public Transit. http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/viewar...

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By beancounter (registered) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 15:58:58

arienc, thank you for that link. That's a great article which argues its point very well. It should give social conservatives a great deal of food for thought.

As far as our needs being met by public transport, there are occasions when even the strongest transit advocate needs to use a vehicle to get to where he is going. I could think of at least two uses for a car-sharing cooperative. I am sure that many of the readers of RTH could think of several more.

One such use would be to go to somewhere outside the city where there is no transit and a taxi would be just too expensive. Another would be if you need to take large items with you. My son, for instance, often travels with large, heavy musical instruments which would be extremely difficult to take on a bus, even a low-floor one.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 16:32:02

Camping tends to require a car.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 01, 2009 at 17:25:00

this is great news. One more small step towards a more balanced transportation network in Hamilton.
I realize some people want a transportation system that only allows single occupancy vehicles at high rates of speed, but most people like choice in life, as opposed to being dictated to by the government as to how we must get around. Hopefully we'll continue to improve the transportation system in Hamilton so that there are several great options for local residents. This is one of those options. Kudos to all involved.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted May 01, 2009 at 19:31:50

My sister lives in Vancouver and had no idea until a week ago about the carshares available there. She prefers transit, but now has the option to drive groups of people when she needs to.

We're quite sure we'll be joining the carshare in Hamilton.

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted May 03, 2009 at 01:59:02

Great work. Car Share co-ops are great institutions.

Can you elaborate on the nature of the aid from Grand River?

Also, can you explain the organizational structure?

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 04, 2009 at 09:05:56

LL -- basically Grand River CarShare is expanding their existing co-op into Hamilton. While the two CarShares will have distinct identities, the administrative responsibilities and membership base will all be combined. This arrangement will allow cars to be available in Hamilton very quickly. The side benefit is that all Hamilton members can use cars located in Kitchener/Waterloo and vice versa.

Visit http://www.hamiltoncarshare.ca for more info on organizational structure and a history of GRCS.

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