Sustainable Huron Investigates Car Sharing

Mathew Piggott is the Business Development and Member Services Manager for Community Car Share in Kitchener.

Transportation was the subject of a recent Sustainable Huron meeting.

Mathew Piggott, the business development and member services manager for Community Car Share in Kitchener, says the business is 20 years old now. He acknowledges the difficulty in giving up car ownership but says he believes they’ve been able to show, with their model, that shared ownership can be better.

“I totally understand the point of view of ‘it’s my car – I wanna know where it is.’ It’s something that’s very ingrained, culturally, it’s a hard thing to give up,” he says. “But I think we’ve been able to show with the system that we’ve been building that moving away from personal ownership to shared ownership can be better.”

Piggott explains their company is member based but getting the membership only takes about 20 minutes. Once that’s done, when you want a ride you book your vehicle online or through their 24-hour call centre.

“In terms of accessing the vehicle you book online using a smart phone or using our 24-hour call centre and then you access the vehicle through a smart card that reads the car reader and that’s it,” says Piggott. “It lets you in and the keys are attached inside the vehicle.”

Piggott says in Kitchener most people are within a five-minute walk from a centre. He concedes the model that works in Kitchener might not work as well in a rural area, but adds an adaptation of the urban model could work.  He says the industry is still in the innovative stages and new models are being developed all the time.

“I think the model we’ve built can go a lot of places but I’m also very open to the fact that different places are going to have local solutions that work better – peer to peer, one-way car sharing, even just the posting of more car-pooling rides as something that is possible,” says Piggott.