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Car co-op motoring for new members

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Peg City Car Co-op is driving forward with plans to expand in southwest Winnipeg.


The co-op, which opened for business on June 8 last year, recently added a third car to its fleet of vehicles. The Nissan Versa will be parked in a spot donated by Safeway at 655 Osborne St.


The other spots are located at Safeway at 499 River Ave. and the Impark lot on Gertrude Avenue behind Stella’s Café and Bakery.  


The third car marks an expansion of the service area of the organization south on Osborne Street due to a growing demand.


Organizers will hold two upcoming information sessions, where co-op members will be on hand to share their experiences and increase awareness of the service.


The sessions will be held on Thurs., Feb 16. from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Fort Rouge Leisure Centre at 625 Osborne St. and Thurs., Feb. 23 between 6:30 and 9 p.m. at Riverview Community Centre at 90 Ashland Ave.


The carshare is designed to give members who regularly bus, cycle or walk occasional use of a vehicle without the cost and maintenance associated with ownership.


"One of the critical factors in determining demand is density of population," said co-op manager and co-founder Beth McKechnie.


"Another factor is that people use multi-modal forms of transit to get around, so it’s about amenities and infrastructure."


The West Kildonan resident said members typically use a car two or three times a month for reasons ranging from shopping trips to family functions.


"Whether it’s a kitty litter run or visiting family on a Sunday night and it’s too late to get home by bus, the idea becomes so cost-effective," McKechnie said.


She said members simply pay per usage and don’t have to worry about cleaning, insurance and maintenance. The co-op also has a CAA membership.  


McKechnie — who also works at Green Action Centre — highlighted the growing popularity of the co-op, as membership has increased to 77 from approximately 30 at the end of last June.


Jane Stewart — member number 20 — uses the car once a week on average.


"The system is great. I go to a woodcarving club and we meet in Transcona, so there’s no quick and easy route there, so it’s really convenient to drive out there after work," said Stewart, who lives in Riverview.


"I’ll also spend more time in Osborne Village, so I’m actually more socially-engaged with the neighbourhood."


Aaron Russin, the co-op’s customer service co-ordinator, said the service is the "missing piece to living car-light."


"I live in a walkable neighbourhood and having a car occasionally is a missing piece to that," said the West Broadway resident.


It costs a one-time, refundable $500 to join the co-op. Members can add up to three additional drivers in the same household for $250 per applicant.


For more information, or to sign-up, call 793-3912 or visit pegcitycarcoop.ca.

simon.fuller@canstarnews.com

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