The BC Automobile Association (BCAA) recently launched a new car share service with an interesting up-tempo public promotional bash outside the Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver. A 250-strong fleet of Toyota Prius C hybrid vehicles will be available to users of this new service, called Evo, and some of them were on display.

“What we are creating here is the evolution of BCAA – the auto club where you don’t even need to own a car,” said Shan Parmar, Director of Evo Car Share.

BCAA believes car sharing is of growing importance for modern city dwellers and is a sustainable mobility option. It’s also a way to improve the on-going issue of traffic congestion. A single car share vehicle can remove up to 12 private vehicles off the road, according to a recent Metro Vancouver study report.

Over the past 20 years, the car sharing service business has grown rapidly and it’s now available in over 600 cities around the world. Major auto makers, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW, are also involved in providing this type of service. In Vancouver, Evo joins Zip, Modo and Car2go for a share of the car share pie.

“We believe Vancouverites are looking for a more flexible car share option that allows them to get outdoors and enjoy everything that BC has to offer,” explained Parmar. “Evo is the only one-way car share service that has vehicles with four doors, room for five passengers, bike racks, ski racks and space for cargo. It’s the only car share service designed to fit a BC lifestyle.”

BCAA is the first auto club to provide a car share service, according to Parmar. Initially the Evo service territory, where vehicles can be picked up and must be returned, is a 50 sq km area within Vancouver city. An Evo vehicle can be driven anywhere and then returned anywhere within the Evo service territory.

“We have designated (free) Evo parking spaces throughout the city,” added Parmar. “In addition to that we have permits from the city of Vancouver that allow an Evo vehicle to park in any permit-only or resident-only zones, within the city.”

Parking fees, gasoline, auto insurance and vehicle maintenance are all included with an Evo vehicle. A user of the service only pays for the time that they are logged into the vehicle and it starts on a per-minute fee base of 41 cents. The hourly usage fee rate is $14.99 and it’s $89.99 per day. BCAA members do receive some perks by enrolling in Evo. The ($35.00) registration fee is waived and they also receive a ten per cent usage credit.

The highly fuel-efficient Toyota Prius C is a four-door hatchback that offers seating for five passengers and the Evo vehicles all come equipped with bike/ski racks. An Evo client can locate available Evo vehicles with a downloadable mobile smartphone app or by using the Evo web site.

An Evo client can also unlock the vehicle with the Evo app, or their Evo membership card, when they arrive at the Evo (Prius C) vehicle. The Prius C has a keyless ignition system and the key fob is in the vehicle. If they want to park the vehicle, but not end a session, they lock the vehicle with the key fob and keep it with them. The Evo user meter will, however, continue to run until you return the key fob to the vehicle and log off the session.

“We’re seeing usage from a wide variety of users,” said Parmar. “Young people who don’t own a car. Couples or people with young families, who may own a car, yet sometimes need a second car. People who use the service simply for the convenience, they don’t want the hassle of finding or paying for downtown parking.”

To learn more about how BCAA’s Evo car share service works, visit evo.ca.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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