Winnipeg car-sharing proving more popular as a transportation option

When Ian Walker bought a used electric vehicle in 2018, he noticed it sat stationary far more than he liked. "The car was sitting in our driveway, so we decided that we

wanted to help some of our friends become less car-dependent," he said. He reached out to two friends in his neighbourhood, offering them use of the car. They started a

Whatsapp group to schedule pick-ups and drop-offs -- the friends both live within walking distance, so Walker just hands them the keys, free of charge. "If our friends our

friends take our vehicle out, it might cost us 25-50 cents in electricity, so it's not really worth it, " he said. "They can buy me a cup of coffee if they want to." Still,

the Nissan Leaf doesn't get enough use for Walker to justify owning it. He's thinking of selling it in the spring. Walker and his informal carshare friends use active

transportation and are also members of the Peg City Car Co-op, with Walker sitting on the board. Peg City Car Co-op is an organized car share that launched in 2011. Members

can book vehicles through their website, paying only for the time and distance driven. The co-op now has over 3,000 members, and has vehicles in nearly every central Winnipeg

neighbourhood. CEO Philip Mikulec attributes the growth in part to the pandemic. As lockdown and remote work changed how much and how often people moved around, some

reevaluated their choice to own a personal vehicle. "People [were] looking at car ownership in a different light, looking at ways to save money and economize, and

carsharing is a great way to do that, and then, of course, other urban and environmental benefits," Mikulec said.