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Car co-op gauging interest in Elmira

You don’t buy a cow just because you want a glass of milk. So why buy a car when you want to drive?

That’s the question being asked by Grand River Car Share, which is holding an information session in Elmira Mar. 24. The non-profit co-operative is studying the possibility of expanding to Elmira, and hoping to gauge interest in having a car or two located here.

“Now that the bus is there, why not car share?” asked Matthew Piggott, member services coordinator for GRCS.

Grand River Car Share has 12 cars in Waterloo Region and another three in Hamilton. Each member of the co-op gets an access key and can reserve a car at their preferred location online or by calling the reservation line. A trip log records the time and distance travelled and members are billed monthly for their use.

Car share offers the benefits of ownership without the costs of buying or maintaining a car, Piggott says. Members have to buy into an insurance plan which costs $19 per household per month, and their only other cost is mileage.

The concept attracts people who are looking to save money and reduce their environmental footprint. GRCS has about 300 members in Waterloo Region and Hamilton, and that number is growing by about 30 per cent per year, Piggott said.

He acknowledged that it’s more difficult to do without a car in a rural area, but noted car share is a good option for families that need a second vehicle but not enough to own one.

“In Elmira, it might not be your first vehicle, but it could be your second.”

Many of the co-op’s members are such families, as well as seniors who drive infrequently and students who can’t afford cars. GRCS already has a few members in Elmira, and Piggott hopes the information session will attract enough new members to locate a car here. If there’s sufficient interest in Elmira, a car share could be up and running within a couple of months.

The information session will be held Mar. 24 at the library from 7 to 8 p.m. For more information and to complete an online survey, visit www.grandrivercarshare.ca. You can also contact Grand River Car Share at 519-578-1895.

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