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REF NO.: 15

SUBJECT: Idea-sharing about car-sharing to take place at public forum

DATE: Sept. 12

Got wheels? Getting around without a car can be a challenge, but owning a car isn’t an affordable or sustainable option for some.

That’s why Memorial University’s Harris Centre is partnering with Happy City St. John’s and CarShare NL to present a public forum with Jason Hammond, president, Federation of Canadian Car-sharing Co-operatives, who will talk about the initiative, its benefits and how they work in Canadian cities.

The event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. at the Foran Room, City Hall. It is open to the public with free admission. The session will also be webcast at www.happycity.ca/events/public-forum-on-car-sharing.

Car-sharing is a neighbourhood-based transportation program that allows for access to a car when individuals need it while spreading out the cost of ownership, maintenance and insurance. The average car spends 90 per cent of its life parked. Through car-sharing, that time is put to use. In Canada, car-sharing has been active since 1994; there are car-share programs in about 27 countries across five continents.

“Our initial research is showing a strong interest in establishing a car-sharing program in St. John’s,” said Scott Morton-Ninomiya, chair, CarShare NL. “Memorial’s Faculty of Business Administration helped us to do a business plan and we’ve identified our target market as those people who have no car, or are thinking about getting a second car but can’t afford it. We’re exploring the options of our first cars going in the downtown and the Georgetown and Memorial University neighbourhoods.” 

Most car-sharing co-operatives operate by members paying an annual fee that allows them access to a car. The car is booked through an online system; members can then simply use the reserved vehicle. Once the car is used, members pay an hourly rate based on the amount of time they use it. Car-sharing also has an environmental benefit: it allows users to have access to a vehicle while keeping fewer vehicles on the road.

“I’m excited to be in St. John’s to share the benefits of car-sharing programs,” said Mr. Hammond. “The model has proven to work across Canada, in centres of similar size to St. John’s, so with the interest to date, the time is right to explore establishing a car-sharing program here.”

Carshare NL is an incorporated, non-profit organization working to lay the foundation for a community co-operative that will operate a St. John’s-based, car-sharing service. CarShare NL envisions St. John’s as a community where people can have easy access to a vehicle (or second vehicle) without the expense of ownership.

For more information, visit www.carsharenl.ca or follow on Facebook and Twitter (@CarShareNL).

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For more information, please contact Diane Keough, communications co-ordinator, Harris Centre, Memorial University, at (709) 834-3739; or Scott Morton-Ninomiya, chair, Carshare NL, at (709) 740-2715.

 

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