It’s quite an alternative thought in our independent mobile society ruled by the all-powerful encroaching auto industry.
But, it can be done.
For the past three years since moving to Akron, I have been trying to keep driving expenses to a minimum all in vain by buying beater cars on Craigslist, refusing to negotiate with “specialty” wolfish auto dealers (the kind that preys on you when your credit is less than satisfactory), and footing the bill for repairs, parts, gas and insurance all on my own. Its been a struggle.
I had a few life factors working in my favor to consider car sharing.
- I only needed the car weekends and one or two evenings per week
- I had a desire and a do-able route for bicycle commuting to work and doing errands
- I view driving the automobile as a necessary evil over my life that I wanted to diminish.
The main hurdles that held me back:
First, an astronomical jump in insurance costs for placing one or more drivers on my policy.
WRONG! I was amazed to find out that there was a mere 3% jump in auto insurance when placing two more drivers on my policy. This may not be true of all auto insurance carriers, but it was true with e-surance. Driving records may also impact the sharing surcharge (in our case, we all had reasonable records).
Second, impossible to find someone who was on opposite driving schedule, lived in close proximity and flexible.
WRONG AGAIN! I found a myriad of drivers out there who thought the same as me and who were flexible in working out a schedule as soon as I put the word out.
So far, in the second month of operation, it’s working out okay with one other person—soon to add a third. I must admit, though, it is still a bit difficult to give up the car (as I have the lion’s share with it) when my spontaneous desire to run errands crops up and difficult weather confronts my bicycle commute.
But, hey, you can get through it…and its a great feeling!
Just remember the benefits:
- Feeling less helpless with less dependence on the automobile
- Helping the environment by using alternative transit more often
- Enhancing your personal community by sharing with others
- Planning better my consolidating errands and working out commuting schedule ahead of time.
…and, just in case you are wondering what “Charonne” means?
That’s the name of our beautiful, well-preserved trusty reliable ‘shared ’95 Toyota Camry. It’s a sexy French spin on “Sharon” (nice American female name closest to “sharing.”)
For great tips on informal car-sharing, check out this article published by Cornell Cooperative Extension: