These are the questions most often asked by new members. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please e-mailNanaimoCarShareInfo(at) or phone 250-741-4141.


1. What is a carshare coop?

A "carshare coop" is a cooperative association whose members have joined together to share ownership of one or more vehicles. The Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative is incorporated in the province of British Columbia with approved Rules of the Association under theCooperative Association Act [SBC 1999]. The Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative recognizes the support and leadership of the British Columbia Co-operative Association (BCCA).

What are the benefits of carsharing?

Carsharing reduces vehicle ownership expenses. It's great for people who need a car once in a while, but don't need the hassles associated with car ownership. People who share cars often drive less, so carsharing reduces traffic, air, and noise pollution. Carsharers are motivated to use public transportation, to cycle, and to walk, resulting in a lower social costs for health and welfare. If you like saving money, enjoy using a variety of transportation methods, or are concerned about our environment, carsharing could be for you!

Are there other carshare coops?

Yes, there are many carsharing organizations. From its European roots, carsharing has spread to 27 countries on five continents, accounting for an estimated 1,788,000 members sharing over 43,550 vehicles worldwide. The first carsharing organization in North America was Communauto in Montreal, started in 1994, now with more than 21,000 members. Modo (formerly CAN, Co-operative Auto Network) in Vancouver is the largest English-language carsharing organization in Canada with 10,000+ members and over 300 cars. On Vancouver Island the Victoria Car Share Co-operative shares more than 20 cars with 500+ members. The CarSharing Association (CSA) is an international association for carsharing organizations.

What does it cost to join?

Membership in the Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative is by refundable member share deposit. Please visit our Join page for complete information.

How much will I save by joining?

It depends on how much you drive. Car ownership is, by nature, expensive. According to the Canadian Automobile Association's 2013 Driving Costs study, the average annual fixed cost of compact car ownership is $6,214.20 ($17.16 per day) and more for larger vehicles. And that's before you add the operating cost of gas, maintenance and repairs, parking, and roadside assistance coverage! The average fixed cost of car ownership is more than $500 per month so if you own a car and make only 5 trips a month, each trip costs you at least $100. Typically, Nanaimo CarShare members spend much less than that because their cost depends only on their car usage. If you don’t drive in a calendar month, you don’t pay anything.


You can use Modo's Car Ownership Calculator to estimate what your car costs you. Check out some of our Typical Trips to get an idea of the costs of carsharing with Nanaimo CarShare. Modo also has a useful Trip Cost Calculator where you can compare the cost of renting a car to carsharing with Modo -- sometimes renting a car will be cheaper than carsharing.

What kind of cars does the Coop own?

We buy quality, fuel efficient cars that offer lots of utility to our Members. See the Fleet page for more information.

Who cleans and maintains the cars?

Volunteers take care of cleaning cars in return for the reimbursement of expenses and usage credits applied to member accounts. Vehicle maintenance, insurance, and administration are managed by the directors, who are also Coop members and volunteers. Monthly administration charges and charges per hour and per kilometre cover expenses. Members help by reporting maintenance issues. Our fleet has roadside assistance coverage (towing, keys locked inside vehicle, emergency battery boost, flat tire).

How do I reserve a car?

Online, using Engage, the vehicle reservations system.

What if I can't return the car on time?

If you are delayed, extend the booking online or by phone. If the booking cannot be extended, fines are charged for late return.

Can I take the car away on holidays? Anytime?

Bookings can be made anytime, 24/7/365, using the online vehicle reservations system on a first-come, first-served basis. Bookings can start any time of day or night, for periods as short as 1 hour and as long as 3 days/72 hours, up to a year in advance with no pre-booking necessary.


Members can take off on the spur of the moment, for a quick shopping trip or a long weekend, with any available Nanaimo CarShare vehicle. Simply check availability online, book, and go!


Please contact the carshare administration volunteer by e-mail or phone 250-741-4141 for bookings longer than 3 days/72 hours. It's often cheaper to rent a car for extended periods.


Try Modo's Trip Cost Calculator to calculate the difference in cost between renting and carsharing.


Or, consider using public transit and roaming with one of our partners in Vancouver (Modo), Victoria (Victoria Car Share Cooperative), or the Sunshine Coast (Coast Car Co-op) when you reach your destination!

Can my family drive, too? Or a friend?

All individual full memberships are for one person. One other family member may join as an associate member, as long as they live at the same address and can meet the same eligibility requirements as the full member. An associate member also attends an orientation session, and receives a security key if needed. Friends, even if living at the same address, must have their own full memberships. See the Join page for details.

Can my business become a carshare member?

Yes! An Employer-Member purchases one refundable member share deposit for multiple employee drivers. Please or phone 250-741-4141 for more information

Where do I pick up the car's keys?

Each car's keys are built into the car. Each Coop member has a master security key to access vehicles.

Who fills up the gas tank?

Members are asked to return vehicles with at least half a tank of gas. Members purchase gas, attach the gas receipt to their in-car trip log record sheet, and are credited for the gas purchase on their next invoice.

How do I join?

Please visit our Join page, or e-mail or phone 250-741-4141 for more information.

Can anyone join the Coop?

You must be at least 19 years old, possess a valid full privilege British Columbia driver's licence, and have 3 years of clean driving history. These criteria ensure that all Coop members are protected from poor drivers, keeping our insurance premiums as low as possible. Please visit our Join page, or e-mail or phone 250-741-4141 for more information.

How long does it take to join?

Applications are processed within two days of our receipt of your ICBC insurance documents. An orientation session is arranged where we'll complete your membership registration, explain carsharing and our cooperative, accept your share deposit and registration fee cheque, and show you the features of a carshare car. Once your cheque has been credited to our bank account, you'll be given access to the online vehicle reservations system. Please visit our Join page, or e-mail or phone 250-741-4141 for more information.

Who makes the decisions?

Day-to-day decisions are made by one or more of the directors. Larger issues are decided by an elected Board of Directors or the members of the Coop at a general meeting, depending on the issue. Member feedback is always taken into consideration.

Does the Coop receive financial support?

We’ve received three grants totaling $1,500 and a Co-operative Development Program grant of $9000 from The Co-operators Foundation. However, we aim to be a financially self-sustaining organization and pay for all expenses with vehicle revenue.

How big will the Coop be?

We hope to have cars located in various locations around Nanaimo. There is huge potential for carsharing, but it will take time for demand to grow. About 20 members are needed to support one shared vehicle. If you want carsharing in your neighbourhood, please contact us for more information.

Does the Coop need any help?

Volunteer opportunities are available because we are non-profit, member-owned and -operated! We have no paid staff. We try to use the skills of our diverse and talented membership. If you want to contribute, meet people, improve skills, and take part in a cooperative and sustainable endeavour, e-mail

How does the insurance work?

Coop vehicles are insured by ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia). Vehicles carry collision and comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible, and Extended Third Party Liability of $5,000,000.

What if I cancel a booking?

It's easy to change or cancel a booking using the online vehicle reservations system. If you cancel more than 12 hours before the start time of the booking, there's no cancellation charge. Cancelling between 12 and 0 hours before your booking incurs 50% of the hourly charge. Cancellations during your booking are charged the full 100% hourly charge. Cancelling is always less expensive than not showing up! No-shows are charged 200% of the hourly charge. Cancellations within 5 minutes of booking creation are not charged, nor portions of the original booking which are later rebooked by another member.

Am I eligible for the $550 BC SCRAP-IT® Carsharing Incentive?

BC SCRAP-IT® is a non-profit voluntary vehicle early retirement program that provides incentives to help British Columbians replace higher polluting vehicles with cleaner forms of transportation. If you have a 2000 or older model year car that is running, and has been insured in BC for the past six months, you may be eligible for the $550 BC SCRAP-IT® Carsharing Incentive (Option #6 Car Sharing Credit) that will be added to your Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative account as a driving credit that's good for three years! Check out theBC SCRAP-IT® website, and contact us for more information.

Why has a fine been charged to my account?

Please refer to Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative's Price List, for a list of our administrative, hourly, and kilometre charges and discretionary fines. We function as a Cooperative if our members abide by our rules and respect other members. Here's the rationale for several of our fines:

  • No Show: When a vehicle is reserved, and not used by a member, we charge 200% of the hourly rate; $3.00 per hour becomes $6.00 per hour. The vehicle was unavailable for another member to reserve and the Coop's revenue is reduced by the lost usage.
  • Late Return: We charge a fine, plus the inconvenienced member's taxi fare, for a late return. Late returns inconvenience members who are waiting to use a vehicle, and undermine the reliability of carsharing. Imagine that for every vehicle there is a queue of people waiting to use the car who may have planned their entire day around timely access to that vehicle. Fines recoup only a small amount of the administrative cost involved when cars are returned late. An additional 30 minute reservation only costs $1.50, and we encourage members to book a little more time than they need to allow for a buffer.
  • Use of a vehicle without booking: A minimum $50 fine applies if a member uses a vehicle without a booking. Taking a vehicle without a booking inconveniences members counting on using that vehicle. Fines recoup only a small amount of the administrative cost involved when cars are used without a booking. Carefully check the confirmation e-mail you receive after making a booking.

How can I pay my invoice?

Members are encouraged to pay their Nanaimo CarShare Cooperative invoice using their BC credit union's electronic payments system. To make an electronic bill payment, sign in to your credit union account and search for "Nanaimo CarShare" in your credit union's list of bill payees. Click to add "Nanaimo CarShare" to your personal list of payees, including your three digit member number as the account number. Other methods of payment include cheque or money order.

Do Coop cars have bike racks?

A deluxe bike rack is installed on Nanaimo CarShare's Car #2, the Pontiac Vibe, located at Port Place Mall. The bike rack can accommodate two bicycles and comes with a lockable security cord. The bike rack folds up so as to not obscure the rear view or interfere with the trunk hatch opening. Instructions for using the bike rack are available here

The bike rack was made possible by financial contributions from several Coop members, matched by a donation from Energy Solutions for Vancouver Island, with the assistance of Hub City Cycles Community Co-op.