Car sharing in Vancouver—Evo vs Modo—which one to go for?
June 13, 2021
Buying and maintaining a car in any big city in North America can be quite expensive. This is even more true in Vancouver with its exceptionally high insurance with the monopoly of ICBC. But there’s good news! Vancouver was called the ‘car-sharing capital of North America’ in a study according to CBC News. This is due to the city having more car-sharing vehicles per capita than any other North American city. According to the report, Vancouver had around 3000 car-sharing vehicles in total in 2018. Comparatively, Montreal and Toronto—the next two big car sharing markets in Canada—had just around 2000, and 1500. Plus, given the more population of the two cities compared to Vancouver gives it more vehicle density per capita. However, Vancouver now has only two main car-sharing companies—Evo and Modo, compared to four when this report was published. Car2Go and Zipcar has since left the markets citing financial and logistical challenges.
What is car-sharing?
Car-sharing is model in which users rent a vehicle and pay for the amount of time and/or the kilometers driven. The car-sharing company can be a private business or a co-operative entity. It differs from the traditional car-sharing in the sense that the user doesn’t have to go to an office to book and pick-up a car. Instead, the users are pre-approved users with eligibility check done at the time of their registration. They can book a car by themselves and pick it up from a nearest parking location. There can be a monthly membership fee. Moreover, the car-sharing companies have contracts with cities so the parking is free most of the time.
What is the difference between one-way or flee-floating and two-way or round-trip car-sharing?
One-way or flee-floating
In one-way car-sharing, you can book a car just for the one-way trip and can leave it at the destination. No need to bring it back to where you picked it up. This type of car-sharing is ideal for things like—
you need to get to a location fast for an appointment
the weather is bad either going to or coming back from some-place and you don’t wanna drive just during that time
you are to make a long stop-over and don’t want the meter to keep running when you aren’t driving during that time
Two-way or round-trip
In two-way car-sharing, you are required to bring the car back to its original location from where you picked it up. This type of car-sharing is ideal for round-trips to grocery store, IKEA, or out-of-town recreational activities.
What is Evo car sharing?
Evo car sharing is based on the one-way sharing model. You can book a car right-away or 30 minutes in advance and leave it anytime. It serves the Vancouver lower-mainland area and Victoria. Lower-mainland and Victoria are considered two separate ‘home zones’. You can pick -up and drop-off your car anywhere in the home zone. Evo is created by the British Columbia Auto Association (BCAA) which is a not-for-profit organization providing roadside assistance, insurance, and auto-repairs. It was founded in 2015.
What is Modo car sharing?
Modo’s car-sharing model is based on two-way sharing model. You can book the car right-away or up to a year in advance. You can end your trip using the app if you return earlier than the booking end time you chose, but can’t keep it after your booking time ends. You can try to extend the return time if available or even better, if you are unsure of when will you be able to return, you can use the open return option at an additional cost of $3 and pay for only the time you use. It also serves the Vancouver lower-mainland area and Victoria area but includes much greater number of cities and towns in those areas. In addition, it also has service in the Nanaimo and Kelowna area. It is a member owned co-operative organization founded in 1997. You become a voting member when you choose Modo Plus membership.
Which one is better?
Which of the two is better depends on a bunch of things. In fact, most of the car-sharing users maintain memberships with both due to the diversity of options that each service offers. I’ll discuss the pros and cons one by one, but let’s start with the main one—cost to use.
Cost to use
Both the companies charge a fixed fee per trip which Evo calls ‘All access fee’ and Modo calls it ‘ Co-op innovation fee’. They charge $1 and $1.5 each respectively.
As for the main cost of use, Evo is the simplest—it charges 41 cents per minute until 36 minutes after which the charge is constant at $14.99. If you keep driving for 6 hours, the vehicle is yours for the next 18 hours at the flat rate of $89.99.
Modo is a bit complex as it charges based on the kilometres in addition to a flat fee per hour. It charges 40 cents per kilometre for the first 25 kilometres and 28 cents afterwards. A flat fee is also charged for every hour that you keep the vehicle which is $4 for Daily Drives such as sedans and hatchbacks, $6 for Large and Loadables such as SUVs and pick-ups, and $9 for moving vans. Also, this price is for Modo Plus members which have to deposit a $500 refundable amount to become the member. For regular Monthly members, it is a dollar more for each category. I tried to plot cost graphs for use cases with respect to time and kilometres (in case of Modo):
I got the idea to plot this graph from this Reddit post I saw by the user u/danielhn1992. However, as mentioned in the comments, this graph can be a bit hard to understand so here are the key points to help you choose which car to take if you have memberships with both and know for how long will you be keeping the car and how many kilometres are you planning to drive:
Less than 15 minutes: Evo
15-36 minutes but less than10 kms — Modo, more than 10 kms— Evo
36 minutes and above but less than 25 kms— Modo, more than 25 kms— Evo
2 hours and above but less than 50 kms — Modo, more than 50 kms — Evo
3 hours and above but less than 100 kms — Modo, more than 100 kms — Evo
4 hours and above but less than 150 kms — Modo, more than 100 kms — Evo
4 hours and above and more than150 kms—Evo *
*5.5-8.5 hours but less than 200 kms — Modo, more than 200 kms — Evo
Basically, if you are keeping the car for less time, then you should go for Modo since Evo charges you by time; and if you are driving the car for lesser kilometres then you should use Evo since Modo mainly charges you by the kilometres.
Other benefits of Evo v/s Modo
For more information on how to join, see evo.ca/register and modo.coop/join-modo.
Hope this blog gave you a general idea of how car-sharing works and how do the two services serving BC lower mainland compare. Suggestions/critique welcomed through the Contact form.