Modo needs more users in Squamish

If car-sharing service can't hit revenue targets by Dec. 20, it may leave the municipality

After Modo car-share said it isn't making enough money to sustain both its cars in Squamish, the District agreed to pay the service a $500 monthly fee.

"Between usage from the District and other members throughout the community, there's enough demand to sustain one vehicle, but car-sharing with just one vehicle — it doesn't fly," said Sylvain Celaire, a Modo representative.

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Celaire did not provide specific dollar figures about the company's revenue in Squamish during a meeting with municipal councillors on Nov. 12.

Around 70 people signed up for the service in Squamish, said Celaire. This includes both municipal employees and the general public.

The District signed up for the service, anticipating about 70 of its employees may use it, but only about 38 have registered, said Dora Gunn, a sustainability co-ordinator with the municipality.

Of those, only 14 have booked a car-share vehicle.

As per the agreement with the District, if Modo can't hit its revenue targets by Dec. 20 this year, it may withdraw.

At the meeting on Nov. 12, the municipality's elected officials voted unanimously in favour of paying a monthly $500 flat fee to Modo.

The fee allows the District to use a set amount of car-sharing services calculated under Modo's business rates.

This racks up to $5 an hour and $0.40 per kilometre km for the first 25 kilometres and $0.28 per kilometre thereafter. If the municipality requires more car-sharing, it can pay for more.

The fee is a new addition to the deal the District has with Modo.

Under the old agreement penned last year, Waterfront Landing developer Bosa Properties provided a community amenity contribution to Modo to buy two car-share vehicles for Squamish.

The District agreed to provide parking stalls and promised to sign up for the car-share service as a business member.

In turn, Modo promised to come to Squamish and operate, maintain and insure those vehicles. It arrived in Squamish in August 2018.

Should the venture fail, the District said in last year's agreement that it was interested in "retaining any remaining value in the vehicles for a future community benefit."

The two Modo vehicles are available in the community for both municipal staff and the general public to use, provided they sign up for the service.

If Modo can hit its minimum revenue targets in the community, the company would like to add a third car.

Celaire said that adding a third car is a game-changer, as users will feel like they can rely on the system because there will be enough vehicles available at all times.

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