Aaron doesn't have a car. He gets around using his bike and the bus for the most part, but on occasion he needs a car to get building or gardening materials, or to go somewhere with infrequent or no bus service.
I have the opposite problem. I own an all wheel drive car, mostly for backcountry skiing trips on winter weekends. But since I like to walk, bike and bus for my weekday activities, I rarely drive the thing. Whether I drive or not, I have to pay the fixed costs of car ownership: depreciation and insurance. This runs $2-4k per year. It would be nice to get some of those costs covered, and at the same time, lend out my car occasionally, making it feasible for more people like Aaron to get by without owning a car.
It seems like Aaron and I ought to form a car-sharing cooperative. Most car sharing cooperatives, like City Carshare in San Francisco, follow a model in which the cooperative buys a fleet of vehicles and members pay to join and use the cars. But what if potential members already own cars specifically designed for their typical use (with custom racks for instance)? Why sell those cars and buy new cars for the cooperative?
I am suggesting a new model for a car cooperative. Instead of all the cars being owned by the cooperative, some can be brought into the fleet by their owners. Car owners join, and get paid when their car is rented out by other members. They also get access to other cars in the fleet that might better suit their needs for a given trip - why own a large truck as a general-purpose vehicle, when its capabilities as a truck are only needed 5% of the time? Car-less members get access to a car for their occasional driving needs. Car owning members get paid based on how much their car is used. The system gives car owners incentive to drive less, so their car will be available for other users. Community members will find it easier to go car-free when they are member of the co-op and have access to occasional car use.
There are still lots of details to work out, not the least of which is insurance. But the first step is to gauge interest and get a group of folks together who would like to give this a try. Why not join us?
Contact Green Wheels if you are interested.