These days, fewer and fewer people are choosing to own their own vehicle, preferring to live a car free lifestyle with walking, biking and public transit as their means of transportation. But the days of personalized vehicles aren’t behind us, with the rise of carpooling, carsharing, ridesharing, ridehailing and ridematching. Whoah, those are a lot of options and it’s easy to get them confused! Let us help you keep these services straight.
According to the Carsharing Association, carsharing is “a membership based service available to all qualified drives in a community.” A fleet of cars are owned by the organization, and community members access them through a booking service for a specified period of time and rate.
In Winnipeg, carsharing is offered by the Peg City Car Co-op. Various options to join are available, so you can simply assess the most economical means for you. It’s important to note that the cars are not driven by employees, but by the members. The cars have specific parking spots where they can be picked up and dropped off. Many businesses are choosing to join car co-ops, so their employees have access to vehicles during their business day to travel to offsite meetings, make deliveries and more.
What are the environmental benefits of carsharing? The Peg City Car Co-op page has shared that 9-13 cars are eliminated for each carshare vehicle. Further benefits are:
- “less traffic congestion and reduced need for parking due to fewer vehicles on the road;
- fewer vehicle km travelled (VKT) as members choose carefully when to drive (due to low fixed cost and high variable costs of carsharing), which means fewer Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and air pollutants;
- increased use of transit, walking and cycling to limit vehicle use.”
Carpooling and Ridesharing
These two services are very similar. Each involves people who own a vehicle giving rides to those who don’t (or sharing a ride, eliminating the use of multiple vehicles.) Of course, those who are getting a ride do offer compensation to the driver, such as providing gas money, exchanging services (“you drive to work, I’ll mow your lawn”) or other means mutually agreed upon ahead of time.
Carpooling is often recurring at a regular day and time while Ridematching is used to describe a one-time shared trip. For example, those who drive to work together numerous times a week (carpooling) vs those who are going on a long road-trip and are seeking someone going to the same place who would be willing to share the cost of travel (ridesharing).
To coordinate these carpooling and ridesharing trips, Ridematching services are often used. Ridematching services use mapping to match those nearby seeking a ride/passenger to similar destinations. Yes, the days of hitchhiking may be over, with those seeking a lift taking to the internet as opposed to sticking out their thumb by the side of the road. Ridematching services could be free or require a membership. You can learn more about Ridematching by visiting our website.
Finally, we have ridehailing services. In the past, this would have simply referred to calling a taxi, but in 2015, depending on which city you live in, you could have various options available to you. The most common ridehailing service is Uber, with The Walrus magazine recently doing a feature story on the company. These new ridehailing services are accessed online through apps or websites, and are far cheaper than taking a taxi. Those who own cars can sign up to be a driver, transporting people around their city in exchange for payment.
Whether or not to allow Uber into the Manitoba market has been the subject of much debate recently, with the provincial Liberals including their support of ridehailing services like Uber in their election platform. The ruling NDP party has sided with Taxicab companies against services like Uber, saying that they are not safe for Manitobans due to the lack of insurance, necessary vehicle maintenance and other concerns, like lack of standardized rate fares (Cab Firms Unite to Keep Uber Away, Winnipeg Free Press). Time will tell if ridehailing can be kept out of certain markets by legislators and Taxi cabs.
Video killed the radio star, as they say.