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City walking the walk, with rideshare

Lorraine Graves   Jul-14-2017

An example of the hybrid cars to be shared between city workers and Modo members in Richmond's news, increased rideshare program

Photo courtesy City of Richmond


For the city of Richmond, leading by example is but one of the reasons they’ve expanded the rideshare program in our city.

With rideshare vehicles, individual members, or organizations like the city, don’t have a car of their own but rather join up, paying a fee to belong and then pay only when they use a vehicle owned by a rideshare company.

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Somewhat like renting a vehicle with multiple pick-up and drop-off spots, some rideshare programs charge a monthly fee plus time and mileage, while others have different variations but the idea is that a driver only pays for the cost of using a car when they are using it. This can save housing cost as they need no parking spot in their home, parking costs as they just leave the car at a rideshare spot, and maintenance costs as the rideshare company keeps the cars in good running order.

By not purchasing new cars for city use, or at least waiting longer to buy them, the city hopes to not only save money for taxpaying residents but also to cut down on greenhouse emissions. Two new hybrid electric cars have been added, bringing the fleet of vehicles the city shares with the public to eight.

The ride share firm, Modo, stores the cars within easy walking distance of City Hall, the hospital and the Canada Line, so people will find it handy to use the rideshare cars. The city hopes people will find it so handy that they will not buy or use a car of their own, opting instead to walk, cycle, or transit most of the way, only using a car when absolutely necessary.

This past year was the first phase of the project where city workers tested out the concept of rideshare vehicles while doing their jobs.

“With the success of the pilot behind us, we’re pleased to be making the shared vehicles at City Hall available to all staff and members of the public,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “As we’ve seen locally and abroad, carsharing has proven to reduce transportation costs for residents and businesses, improve traffic and air quality, and make better use of our land.”

City spokesperson, Ted Townsend said the rideshare cars are also an important part of the City’s Green Fleet Action Plan, approved by Council. He said it is, “To target a 20 per cent reduction in (greenhouse gases) by 2020 and supports Official Community Plan objectives to increase use of alternative transportation options.”

Rideshare programs seem to be an idea whose time has arrived. According to Townsend, “There are currently 152 Modo members in Richmond – a number that’s been increasing approximately 15 per cent per year since operations began in 2013 with one car and 29 members.”

Ride sharing is a solution the city hopes that will save us money in our taxes, money on personal trips, and save the environment to boot.


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