Co-op auto network

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kip By kip

I have just moved to BC and found out that the 5 day trip out here started a leak in my drive train which will cost over a grand to fix, plus need some other work done to pass a safety.

I had every intention of using transit and pedal power for getting around, but every so often I need a car for those trips to whistler, or to head out for a hike. I am seriously debating joining the Co-op as an alternative to owning a vehicle… In fact if they accept my application it will likely be a done deal. I live in the commercial drive area and they have a few car locations near me, and also a minivan spot should I require it.

I am financially quite able to afford my own car, but the co-op sounds perfect for my needs.

Anyone have any testimonials/comments to help my decision?



I've been in the co-op for four years and highly recommend it. I live in Kits where there are a ton of CAN cars so it's quite handy, but I think the East side is catching up as far as numbers of cars.


- you generally have to plan your trip reasonably well in advance, especially for long weekends, driving somewhere on a whim can be difficult. That said, last Saturday night I was able to sign out a close-by car out at the last minute with no problems.

- some of the cars are very well used, not necessarily in great condition and a little scary to drive. Most are well-maintained but you do get the occaissional lemon.

- not everyone keeps the cars clean, every so often the inside is coated in dog hair.

Aside from CAN being a good deal on its own, there are also some great perks for members - discounts on car rentals, corporate rate at the YWCA downtown (about $200 off a yearly membership), etc.

That's my $.02.

kip By kip

Thanks for the feedback.

I am going to talk to someone down at the Co-op and see if they would consider buying my car from me at a reduced rate to go towards membership fees and such... it is a 2000 protege and in great condition besides the newfound leak which if they have their own service team, wouldnt take much effort to fix... Maybee they would insert it into a location near me also, making it easier acess from my place.

Sounds like I am being scetchy I know but I plan to do some world travelling this year and If I can save paying insurance and parking fees for a few months, I can stay away longer. Plus everything is quite handy to me here and can be accomplished with transit and pedal/foot power... plus my new GF also has a mazda protege :)

My questions that were not answered on the website were:

If I return the car after 8:30, do I pay $2 per hour for the whole night until the co-op opens the next day?

Are the cars fuel efficient? wondering since I am considering this option mainly to help reduce my environmental footprint, and force myself to use more transit and other means. My car is fairly efficient in that regard and I am not using it much... dont want to jump into a guzzler and feel like I am only making things worse.

Returning a car:

The return system is really the honour system. You sign out a car for a specific time, say the 2nd & Victoria (made up location) car from 4pm to 10pm. At 4:00 you go to 2nd & Victoria, pick up the car (they'll explain how to get the keys), drive wherever you want to go and return the car to the appropriate parking place by 10:00. You don't return the car to a CAN office, simply park it, fill in the log book, return the keys and walk away. If you return it late you will be penalized, but only if someone report it's late. If you return it early you don't any sort of refund.

Fuel Efficiency:

I believe they have at least one hybrid, but I don't really stay up on the news. You'll have to ask them for details.

You can email me (click on the link below) if you have more questions.

but post any good questions and answers here for all us lurkers...

kip By kip

Thank you, your feedback has been very helpfull. I am waiting for my 5 year drivers record to come in from Ontario... For the Co-op you new 3 or fewer traffic violations in the 5 years to qualify, and I had 3 in a 8 month span (speeding) just about 3 years ago and I had 1 previously that might have been within 2 years prior...

Otherwise I am on the fence still stricktly due to my occupation as an electrician which is going to have me working on many different job sites over the next year. If I was working @ one location for a long period of time the decision would be all for it, but alas I need to wait to see where I am employed.

It is nice that I would recieve a dicounted transit pass also... so many bonuses to the Co-op system. It really is a great option just not certain it will work for me due to my job variations and the fact that I own a good car.

I highly recommend the Vancouver CAN. The CAN is very organized.

You should sit down & figure out the costing. For me, it was much more economical to be a CAN member instead of purchasing a vehicle. For longer trips it is cheaper to rent a car, but for shorter (i.e. less than 24-hrs) a CAN car works out great. You can generally get access to a car - the shorter the notice, the further from your preferred CAN car you'll get. You may need to bike/walk further/transit to the CAN car. In my neighborhood I have at least a dozen choices within a 15 minute walk.

You should just pop into their office & ask them questions. Once you become a member there is a 24-hour number to call.

Note - that if a CAN member finds a car that is not clean they should call the CAN office & report it. The office can track the member down & tell them about the complaint. As with any co-op the membership is asked to respect/value the shared resource as if it was their own.