Carleton is officially a member of the VRTUCAR club.
VRTUCAR is a car-sharing service for people who use alternative modes of transportation like a bike or bus, but occasionally need access to a car. When members register for the service online, they can reserve the car and access it any time they need it.
On campus, the red Nissan Cube VRTUCAR is parked facing the athletics building in parking lot 4 and will be available as of Oct. 2.
“It allows people to use their bike or a bus more confidently, knowing if they need a car, one is sitting here,” says Wilson Wood, owner of VRTUCAR.
“There needs to be an option available to people getting to and from campus when they don’t necessarily bring their own vehicle,” adds Brian Billings, operations manager in university safety.
Billings, who has already been involved in many sustainable transportation initiatives on campus, jumped at the idea of having a VRTUCAR at the university.
Since one VRTUCAR supports about 24 users, it’s the equivalent of taking between eight to 10 cars off the road, says Wood, and this service offers a unique opportunity to have access to a car when you need it without having to own a vehicle.
“We want to show ourselves as being involved in the community and showing that we’re helping people make proper environmental choices,” Billings says.
If enough people sign up for the service, another VRTUCAR will be added to the campus to serve the company’s members at Carleton. The university already has 12 members signed up.
“We’re able to grow with the demand,” Wood explains. “The way we grow is our members tell other people [about it]. We don’t see any reason why we won’t have two cars here.”
Brett Stevens, a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, has no problem spreading the word about how VRTUCAR has helped him since he became a member.
Stevens got rid of his car about a year ago and joined the service to test it out. He says while he has to book the car a few weeks in advance to run weekend errands, rushing across the city for a meeting during the weekdays is no problem with VRTUCAR.
“I’ve booked it within hours of needing it, which is pretty cool,” says Stevens. “I can certainly speak from experience that not owning a car is a far more peaceful way of life.”
To register for VRTUCAR, members must be 23 years old. The company also does a background check on applicants’ driving records. VRTUCAR members have three membership choices that range in price.
“[VRTUCAR] will get people to think about their transportation needs, and what is the best solution, both from an environmental as well as a financial perspective,” says Wood.