Modo, formerly known as the Co-operative Auto Network, has a whole new look, a whole new name and possibly a whole new bunch of customers who are looking to stay clear of increased gas prices.
New Westminster resident Reena Meijer Drees has been a member since 2003 when the first co-op car arrived in New Westminster. She was a member of the board from 2003 until 2010, taking part in the decision to expand the service.
She said that the rise in gas prices could contribute to more people signing up for car sharing. And Bernice Paul, marketing director of Modo, agrees.
We find that any time there is a rise in gas prices people become more sensitive to the costs associated with car ownership, therefore people look to other ways of getting around, she said in an e-mail.
New Westminster resident Jen Arbo said that gas prices played a part in her decision to become a Modo member. She said that she only needs access to a car part-time, so Modo is a great alternative to dealing with the initial cost of a second car along with insurance and gas fees.
Drees added that events such as the Olympics and past bus strikes have had a greater impact on the number of people opting for Modo.
The decision to bring Modo cars to New Westminster started with about eight people who said that they were willing to use the service, according to Drees. Now, she has to book a car at least a week in advance to ensure that one will be available.
Burnaby and New Westminster combined have about 500 members and 18 locations, according to Paul.
Its not for everybody you really do need to plan ahead, said Drees, who travels via public transportation, cycling and walking frequently.
She said that people who like to do a lot of driving may want to find another way to get around, but if a family really wants to make it work they can. Drees has two children, and she said that her family has not owned a car for about seven years.
She is hoping that her kids will be able to learn to drive on the Modo cars. She said that she has made a request that the L and N program be initiated, but no decision has been reached yet.
Those looking to spare their wallets have the option of car sharing. A casual membership entails a $50 annual fee and a $20 registration fee. Hourly costs run at $7.50 per hour to a maximum of $60 for a full day.
Casual members may only need to use Modo cars occasionally, but have the reassurance that a car is there if they need one.
For people who may need to use a Modo car more frequently, they can opt for a co-op membership for $500 with a $20 registration fee. For members, the hourly charge is $3 per hour with no charges between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
For information, visit www.modo.coop.
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