Carshare program spreads the love

While “community” might bring to mind a cozy neighborhood, it can be found  with cars, too. Building community is just what Carshare Vermont is trying to do, Carshare’s Executive Director Annie Borden said. Carshare Vermont, a new nonprofit organization, hopes “to provide a convenient, affordable and reliable alternative to owning a car that enhances the environmental, social and economic well-being of our region and planet,” their website stated.   Currently, the organization has nine cars — each of which has its own personalized name. The growth rate of members has been steady, and they are on their way to being a self-sufficient company, Borden said.More than 400 members have joined in the brief time Carshare has been operating; UVM students are also a part of this group. Senior Elizabeth Kerschner uses it to get to doctor appointments and visit friends. She said that the service was “convenient,” but to her it’s not just about sharing cars, it’s about creating “community.” When you sit in a Subaru located behind Morrill Hall, you may find CDs that other owners or the company have left, Kerschner said. This shared music collection is one way that Carshare tries to provide community. Junior Zach Realberg has only been a member for a short while, but he said “without it, it would be impossible to get where I need to go.” Carshare makes it easy to get “away,” providing mobility and freedom, he said. Both Kerschner and Realberg said that cost puts a limit on how many times they use the service. To take a two-day trip to Boston using Carshare, it would cost $162.80, which includes gas and insurance, according to the Carshare price chart. Although this may be cheaper than alternative transportation — particularly if the bill is split four ways — it’s still costly for students who aren’t making much of an income. There are also extra charges for not returning the car on time, which can be difficult for college students with hectic schedules and lives. However, convincing people to live without a car will be  Carshare’s biggest obstacle for their expansion, Borden said. Regardless of these factors, Carshare has future plans to expand to Williston and add more cars, Borden said. This little nonprofit doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.