Commuters who relied on car sharing to get back and forth to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Vancouver will have to hitch a ride another way after Car2Go announced this week it is cancelling both the ferry and Grouse Mountain drop-offs at the end of the month.
Members of the Car2Go car-sharing service got notice of the change on Monday, in an email that noted members will no longer be able to drop off cars in those locations starting midnight March 30.
The news has left many regular users of the Horseshoe Bay drop-off and pickup site upset and scrambling for alternatives.
Dana Heerschop, a nurse who lives on the Sunshine Coast and works at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, said she’s used Car2Go for “at least 50 per cent of my commute” over the past year and a half. “I’m very disappointed,” she said. “It’ll be a huge increase to my costs if I have to drive myself to and from work.”
Heerschop said while she can often take a vanpool in to work, her shifts usually don’t end at a time when she can take a vanpool home. Public transit can take a lot longer – and sometimes means missing ferries, she added.
Julie Hughes, a counsellor who lives on Bowen Island and works downtown several days a week, voiced similar frustrations.
Hughes said on days she’s working, she often returns later in the evening, when transit isn’t operating at peak service levels. “I pretty much use Car2Go every time,” she said. The cancellation will have a huge impact on her family, she said, because she will likely have to take her own car to work now and pay for parking in Yaletown.
Hughes said she was surprised to get the news this week and has written to the company to complain about the change.
Dacyl Armendariz, spokeswoman for the Texas-based Car2Go, said the company decided to make the change because too many of the cars were “sitting unused for long periods of time” at both locations. While cars were well used by commuters during the work week, they tended to sit in the Horseshoe Bay lot on weekends, despite an additional charge paid to drop off cars there on weekends. That meant the cars weren’t available for use in Vancouver and North Vancouver during busy weekend days.
Karen Mahoney, a Gibsons ferry commuter who works at Vancouver General Hospital, said she was happy to use Car2Go instead of driving. “It was actually cheaper for me to use Car2Go,” she said. It was also convenient not to search for or pay for parking on busy Vancouver streets.
Mahoney said she’s disappointed the company couldn’t come up with another solution to keeping the Horseshoe Bay service viable – whether through higher fees for those pickups and drop-offs or some other method. She plans to write to the company, urging them to reconsider. “I will tell them to please rethink this because it was actually working well,” she said.
Car2Go is the only car-sharing company to have one-way pickups and drop-offs available at the ferry terminal, having started that option in 2013.
Unfortunately for those who used the share cars, competing car-share company Evo – which also operates in North Vancouver – has no plans to move in when Car2Go moves out.
“It’s not our intention to expand to Horseshoe Bay,” said Tai Silvey, director of Evo. “We focus on dense areas. You need enough people to move the vehicles about.”
Evo will continue to offer its drop-off and pickup at Grouse Mountain, said Silvey.
This is not the first time areas have been cut from Car2Go’s drop-off and pickup zones. In 2016 the company chopped Richmond from its service area and shrunk its North Vancouver zone.