The TCSA Brings Student Car Share to Trent University

The TCSA has teamed up with Student Car Share and community partners to launch a new car share program at Trent and in Peterborough.

With partners such as the Peterborough Green-Up, the City of Peterborough, and Trent University Parking, the TCSA and Student Car Share are able to provide one car on campus, located in the parking lot next to Bata, and one car downtown by the bus terminal.

All Ontario drivers over the age of 18 with at least a G2 license have the opportunity to become Student Car Share members. Students with an out-of-province or foreign driver’s license can also become members.

Car shares typically require members to be at least 21. Arthur spoke with founder, Michael Lende, who started Student Car Share because he noticed that no one was catering to the student market. So why take a risk on 18 year-olds?

“I can’t tell you why other companies haven’t done this already … I have a lot of faith in students,” the self-described entrepreneur said.

Student Car Share is now operating on 17 post-secondary campuses, with 16 being in Ontario and one in Quebec. Members have access to vehicles from any campus in the Student Car Share network.

Arthur spoke with TCSA Vice President of Campaigns and Equity, Tessa Nasca, about the launch of the car share.

When asked what the TCSA is hoping for in terms of membership, Nasca said, “It’s hard to say because it does take time to build a culture of car-sharing. It takes a big shift in people’s attitudes about transportation.

“I’d love to see 25-50 students signed up this semester.”

Bringing Student Car Share to Trent did not cost the TCSA any money, as it is a for-profit company that is “eager to get their cars out there” said Nasca.

Is bringing a company aimed at maximizing profit (and targeting students for this profit) the right thing to do? This was an issue that the TCSA was aware of and took into consideration.

“It’s something we really debated about—whether or not we wanted to partner with them. But the reality is … that there are a lot more barriers with not-for-profit car shares.”

In the end, the TCSA decided that the car share, despite being a for-profit company, was still in the best interest of the students.

“Car sharing is a way to discourage owning a vehicle, while still giving students access to one when they need it,” Nasca said.

Nasca hopes that the car share will be here to stay as a permanent transportation option for students, which is both financially and environmentally friendly.

The Student Car Share is also bringing Trent five students jobs: one marketing coordinator, and four student ambassadors who help educate other students about the benefits of car sharing, promote the company, and recruit membership.

“When you own a car, you’re paying for it even when you don’t use it. With car-sharing, you only pay for the car when you need it,” Lende said.

The Student Car Share membership costs $50 per year, plus a $25 application fee. It costs $8/hr, or $56 per day, to use the Kia Rio car. The larger Kia Soul is $9/hr. These costs include gas and insurance.

You never have to fill up the tank with your own money; the car share comes equipped with a special fuel card which can be used at any gas station.

Lende told Arthur that students will get a 50 dollar credit towards their account if they become members, which is a value of about 6 hours of driving.

This isn’t Lende’s first time being involved with car-sharing; he was the Regional Vice-President of Zipcar Canada Inc. for the Toronto area. He chose to focus on Ontario because of the high cost of driving and his knowledge of the market. Campuses that were located along the 401 were targeted as prime candidates.

Lende projects that there will be approximately 10,000 members of the car share by the end of the first semester. He hopes for the company to expand across Canada eventually.

You can apply to become a member online. Check out the website for more detailed information and FAQ as well.

Nasca told Arthur that once the TCSA has 1000 students who have signed up for their On The Move campaign, they are going to give five Student Car Share memberships away for free.

For more information about the On The Move campaign, visit the Trent Central website.

About Sara Ostrowska 34 Articles
Sara has been editor for Volume 47 (2012-2013) and Volume 48. She is a fourth year Philosophy and Political Studies undergrad. Her main interests are Canadian politics, and issues of law, justice and rights, feminism, and ethics. She is also a programmer on Trent Radio. You can follow her on twitter here!