Modo. The Car Co-op.

Modo. The Car Co-op.

Car-sharing in Vancouver has never been sexier—nor made such good sense

 

You might remember Modo as the Co-operative Auto Network (CAN), with the DIY-designed logo plastered on the back of its fleet of less-than-glamourous cars. It looked like a grassroots organization. Which was fine.

 

But now that car sharing is taking hold as a popular movement, the company has put on its serious marketing pants, rebranding itself as a young and modern urban not-for-profit with a new name and logo to match.

 

modo. the car co-op

200 – 470 Granville St, Vancouver
 

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604-685-1393 | Email

You may have noticed the colourful circles that mark Modo parking spaces all over town. Odds are, you already know someone who is a Modo member. I personally know two. They both swear by it and say they'll never look back; car ownership all but a distant memory now.

 

The case has been made for car sharing already. The economic and environmental reasons alone are super compelling. Building developers are leaping on parking concessions in planning their structures, saving money on valuable parking spaces. Casual drivers are unshackling themselves from the burden of car ownership for the convenience of car co-ownership.

 

And we all breath easier when fewer cars are on the road—reducing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and the need to convert green space over to parking lots and highways.

 

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Find a deal on Craigslist too good to pass up? Book a Modo vehicle in a jiffy and high-tail it over before someone else snatches up that lamp.

 

Vancouver's Modo the first car co-op in North America

The story behind Modo also hits all the right buttons for Vancouverites—local success, not-for-profit and member-owned. The company's been around since 1997, starting with only two cars, 16 members and one employee. It's grown since then, now with more than 5,000 members, 225 cars and 23 employees.

 

The not-for-profit organization was the first car share co-op in North America and is dedicated not only to its own success in signing on members but to helping other cities' car-share start-up as well, offering up use of its own booking software for free.

 

The company even helped its biggest competitor, Zipcar, get off the ground in Boston.

 

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Spend a Saturday daytripping with your honey, cruising aboard a Modo car from one vantage point to the next to take in the glorious scenery around Vancouver.

 

Why car sharing makes sense

Reasons for car sharing are so in-your-face that if you need a vehicle for three days or less per week, you really should question your attachment to your car. Sure, cars can have sentimental value, but how much are you willing to pay to maintain that sentiment?

 

You may site the freedom of being able to just jump in your car and roll—but if you have Internet access, you have similarly convenient access to a shared vehicle. For those living in high population density areas, the nearest car is likely within a block or two from your front door.

 

Modo membership perks

Members of Modo are quick to applaud not only the convenience of the car share program but also what is included in a Modo membership: gas, insurance, maintenance, cleaning and BCAA roadside assistance, plus Modo cars are permitted to park in any permit or resident-only zone in the city. Your read that right... For anyone who's ever tried to find a parking spot in the West End, that's a huge perk.

 

Other perks include discounts on car rentals (for those longer range trips), YMCA/YWCA memberships, City of Vancouver recreational facilities, and extended health and dental coverage. In addition, Modo members can also apply for 15 percent off monthly FareCards through Translink and are eligible to use car share programs in other cities with partner programs.

 

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Book a set of Modo wheels for a special date night when she wants to wear heels.

 

Clean driving record a must for Modo membership

After hearing so much about Modo's advantages, you can imagine my frustration when I found out that I don't qualify for membership! It turns out that its fleet insurance is rather unforgiving.

 

Anyone seeking membership must have three years of incident-free driving—so the at-fault fender bender I had last year disqualifies me. It's an unfortunate risk analysis for me but part of the reason Modo's fleet is three times larger than Zipcar's and its hourly usage rates about half.

 

I'm still sold on Modo, and I'll apply again when they'll have me. In the meantime, watch out for me in that bike lane.