It was only a short few months ago when Student Car Share first rolled into Peterborough and onto the Trent campus, but users of this new service have spoken loud and clear: the car share has been a great thing when it comes to alternative means of transportation in the city.
Recently, Arthur spoke with founder and CEO of Student Car Share, Michael Lende, about the level of success that people have been experiencing with the vehicles here at Trent.
“I am just overwhelmed by the reception Student Car Share has been met with in Peterborough,” admitted Lende. “I’ve never had to explain to people the importance of car sharing, or the need for it. Everyone seems to understand what an exceptionally convenient, affordable, and eco-friendly way it can be to get around. I really am amazed by the response.”
Originally implemented in September 2013, Student Car Share has been a new, innovative, shared transportation service that caters specifically to university-aged students.
Currently, Student Car Share operates across 16 different university and college campuses in Ontario.
Out of the other schools and regions, Peterborough is now in the top three school locations with regards to the number of memberships, despite having a significantly smaller population than many other sites. It will also soon be the only location that has four cars in operation.
Lende attributes this success in part due to the fact that Peterborough is home to not one, but two, postsecondary institutions, Trent and Fleming. Quite simply, there are many students who live in the concentrated downtown core and require a vehicle to get around.
Normally, to be a member of a car share, you need to be at least 21 years of age, but with Student Care Share, any Ontario driver over the age of 18 who holds at least a G2 license can become a member. At $50 per membership, which includes insurance, maintenance, and 24/7 roadside assistance, Student Car Share is an affordable alternative transportation choice for many.
Since the initial launch of Student Car Share, a few changes have been made to better address drivers’ needs. There are two types of vehicles available: the KIA Soul and the Rio. Whereas previously the KIA Soul, the bigger car of the two, was listed at $9 per hour, Lende has decided to adjust the prices, now charging equal rates for both cars at $8 per hour.
“We changed the prices to make things easier on students,” explained Lende. “Trent students are definitely using the cars. In fact, the particular vehicle beside the library has been booked out every weekend for the past five weekends in a row! But, if you want to move a bulky piece of furniture, or make a big grocery or shopping trip, you need a vehicle that can handle that. So, we decided to make the prices for the KIA Soul the same as the Rio.”
Additionally, Student Car Share is now offering a new promotion. With the purchase of an annual membership, users of the car share service will receive $75 of free driving time. Essentially, this translates into more than a full day of driving at no cost, or, at a $25 application fee, a free membership.
In the future, Lende said that he would love to have the opportunity to visit Trent as a guest speaker. Describing himself as an entrepreneur, he believes that the next step following the September launch is to run information sessions at some of the campuses involved with Student Car Share in order to reach out to students.
The benefits of car sharing, both environmental and financial, are numerous, and the popularity of the cars on campus is growing each month.
When asked if there was anything else he felt was important for students to know, Lende replied, “Yes. Thank you to Peterborough for making us feel so welcome. Thank you to the students for embracing us. If there is anything we can do to be more involved in your school, please let us know. Also, a big happy holidays to everybody at Trent and safe driving!”