Georgia Klein, a member of the Transportation for Tantramar Network, checks out the car available to local residents through a new carshare pilot project in Sackville. A membership drive for the Enterprise carshare project was held at Bridge Street Café last week, with several new members signing up for the service, with more sessions anticipated in the coming weeks. PHOTO SUBMITTED
SACKVILLE, N.B. – Local residents can now enjoy all the freedoms of a car without the high costs of owning one.
A carshare pilot project was launched just this month in Sackville, giving community members access to a new transportation option at an affordable price.
People who sign up will pay $35 for an annual membership and $10 per hour when using the vehicle, a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta that is centrally located in downtown Sackville. Those fees cover the costs of fuel and damage/liability protection.
Joni Fleck-Andrews, a member of the Transportation for Tantramar Network who helped set up the six-month pilot, said the idea behind the initiative is to raise more awareness in the region about this form of transportation – and to show that carsharing is a viable option for many people.
The first program of its kind in New Brunswick, the Sackville carshare project is a partnership between the Transportation for Tantramar Network and Enterprise Carshare and is being funded through a grant from Renaissance Sackville.
With carshare, members can book a vehicle only when they need one – a much more convenient alternative to the bus or train service, said Fleck-Andrews.
“People who only need a car once in a while . . . this is that option for them,” said Fleck-Andrews.
From occasional out-of-town grocery shopping trips and medical appointments to even needing a vehicle in town for package or parcel pick-ups, carshare is an accessible and affordable option that people should consider, said Fleck-Andrews.
“Overall it’s a good deal for the community.”
Launched on March 1, the local carshare project will have one car available for use during the six-month pilot with the possibility of expansion after that time.
Fleck-Andrews said the hope is to reach 50 members by the end of the six-month period and “then we’ll revaluate it and see how things go.”
“If it’s successful, it’ll continue,” she said.
Memberships are available online at www.enterprisecarshare.com and at upcoming community membership drives/information sessions. The next sessions are set for March 19 at the Tantramar Family Resource Centre, March 22 at the Sackville Farmers Market, and March 25 at the Wallace McCain student centre on campus.
Fleck-Andrews said although several different carshare options were looked at (co-op model, Atlantic carshare) in order to get one off the ground here, it was soon determined that the high insurance costs and the legislation involved were going to be a barrier for a small grassroots organization to take this on. So it was decided the best route was to partner with Enterprise, which was already established in providing the service.
And as the project gets under way here, Fleck-Andrews said the goal is to also encourage other communities to adopt this form of transportation.
“Hopefully this will give other communities some traction to get similar projects going,” she said.