Care to travel the world, one plate at time? Visit Kamloops.
Flaky, Fluffy and Freaking Delicious: Vancouver’s Top Fry Bread and Bannock
The Best Gelato in Canada Was Made in a Hotel Room (and You Can Get it Now in Kitsilano)
Wine Collab of the Week: The Best Bottle to Welcome a Vancouver Spring
Naked Malt Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Celebrates Versatility and Spirit
A $13 Wine You Can Age in Your Cellar
5 Things to Do in Vancouver This Week (March 20-26)
5 Things to Do in Vancouver This Week (March 13-19)
Looking for a Hobby? Here’s 8 Places in Vancouver You Can Pick Up a New Skill
What It’s Like to Get Lost on a Run With a Pro Trail Runner
8 Things to Do in Abbotsford (Even If It’s Pouring Rain)
Explore the Rockies by Rail with Rocky Mountaineer
4 Fashion Designers From African Fashion Week Vancouver to Put on Your Radar
The Future of Beauty: How One Medical Aesthetics Clinic is Changing the Game
Before Hibernation Season Ends: A Round-Up of the Coziest Shopping Picks
No one sees the city quite like David Holzer. We’re in the Milano café on Powell, in a sea of young Gastowners envisioning a brighter tomorrow — the perfect backdrop for a movie the -Car2Go Canada manager is running on his travel-battered ThinkPad. Across a map of Vancouver zoom tiny dots representing the two-seaters owned by the car-sharing company. As the hours time-lapse by, the dots zip every which way — each an actual trip taken by one of 44,000 local members.When Car2Go opened here in June 2011, the fourth city in three years (after Ulm and Hamburg, Germany, and Austin, Texas), its fleet was small and hurdles high. A mail strike delayed prelaunch marketing material, and Stanley Cup rioters crumpled one of its 220 new Smart Fortwo vehicles; another was set on fire. Yet the notion of sharing rather than buying a car has caught on: the Vancouver fleet has grown to 550. (Worldwide, Holzer says a Car2Go is booked every 2.5 seconds across 25 cities.)”Vancouver is definitely one of our success stories,” Holzer affirms as we watch another data set come to life. Within the noise, what he notices is distribution: some cities have narrower corridors, in part because of where shared cars are allowed to park. In Vancouver, all three services (the others are the Modo co-op, and Avis-owned Zipcar) pay between $300 and $1,320 for each dedicated curbside spot, and the city encourages sharing by allowing members to park on many restricted residential streets. Trips crisscross the city, often skipping downtown; in Calgary, by contrast, the suburbs converge on the business district, then flee again come afternoon.In Vancouver, peak demand is for a 25-minute one-way trip between 3 and 9 p.m., with the morning commute a distant second. Cars go out on average seven or eight times a day. (Friday is king.) Hubs are noticeable on this August weekend we’re reviewing: farmers markets, the PNE, and especially west of Denman, the system’s most called-on area. To use the cars, members reserve online, then pay 38 cents a minute; cars must be left between UBC and Boundary, from 49th north. North Vancouver was added this year; Holzer says the next expansion will mean more cars and more incursion into the suburbs — maybe out to the ferries come summer? The airport?Car2Go does use a service — Bashir’s Auto Cosmetics — to clean, fuel, and occasionally reposition orphaned vehicles, but the fleet mostly self-adjusts. “There’s not a street in Vancouver where we don’t have a member,” says Holzer, whose previous job was managing the 4,600-vehicle fleet in place for the Winter Games. His research suggests users will walk five minutes (maybe 10) to access a car, and that usage works well in cities where sharing fits into a larger transportation plan: members drive partway, then access transit, walk, or — especially after a night out — use cabs. (This summer, cab drivers in San Francisco protested the proliferation of ride-share companies in that taxi-deficient city, recognizing a looming threat.)Is this the future of transportation? Holzer suggests car-sharing is part of a larger story. “The idea of ownership is definitely tailing off,” he says, and in this Gastown milieu, it does seem possible. What’s for certain is that the sharing is about more than just hardware. There are many third-party apps built on the company’s open data — local engineer Jarek Piórkowski has even posted his own custom zippy-dot animations of Car2Go member use on Youtube. It’s not something the company expected, but that’s the difference between owning and sharing: control takes a back seat.