Convenient, Green, Car Share Initiative Thrives in Edmonton

Posted by Maxwell Progressive on Sunday, May 1st, 2016 at 8:22pm.

Edmonton's POGO is Spring-Loaded! Convenient, Green, Car Share Initiative Thrives in Edmonton

A handy car share service business started by Edmontonian entrepreneurs in 2014 is growing fast, to the satisfaction of green living enthusiasts and the general public.  The company is the brainchild of Kieran Ryan and his partners Alexis Alchorn, James Kiran, Dennis Lam and Patrick Finnegan. Clients are loving it!  Pogo's vehicle inventory has more than doubled since the company's launch.  In an October 2015 interview, Pogo told the Edmonton Journal that "we've been really happy with the numbers of people signing up".  Ryan reports that many customers are millennials, who choose to use POGO in lieu of buying a car.  Such services are both popular and lauded in other cities such as Calgary where many work downtown and sharing programs have been around for ages.  POGO has already shown that car sharing is viable in Edmonton too.

Pogo CarShare allows customers aged 21 and up with a good driving record and a worn-in license to seek out a vehicle at any time of day or night.   University of Alberta students need only be 19 years old to partake. There are dozens of POGO vehicles parked within the boundaries of a region encompassing the downtown core, Oliver, Old Strathcona, and university areas.  There's an online map showing the accessible cars scattered throughout the Pogo zone.  Expanding this zone is a huge priority for the company.  Most of the vehicles are convenient 4-door hatchbacks, usually one or two years old, equipped with up-to-date bits and pieces.  The vehicle can be unlocked using an app or a membership card/fob; after that the driver finds the keys and types in a PIN number, and the car is ready to go. After the journey, the car is returned to the zone, and one locks up the car the same way it was accessed. The borrower pays for the length of time that s/he has used it.  There is a small application fee, and one can pay by minute, hour, or day.  An entire hour is only $14.99 + GST; a day costs $69.99 + GST.  Prices include fuel (there's a gas card in the glove compartment) and parking expenses.

What really makes life easier for those who don't need the baggage associated with owning and using their own cars is that maintenance and insurance costs are covered too.  Alchorn explained to the Alberta Venture that using Pogo can potentially reduce stress associated with car ownership. Ryan told the Edmonton Journal that their prices are cheaper than Uber's.  Users can take a one-way trip, being creative with transportation options.  One can take transit and then switch it up a bit and drive.  Winter issues?  Nope.  No need to worry. Ryan explained to the Local Good that there are winter tires, that the cars have the snow cleared off them, and that it is ensured that cars are not parked in snow routes.

The promising company was a finalist in Edmonton's TEC Venture Prize competition.  Car sharing is thought to contribute to a reduction in car use; consequently progress is made towards green living. In August 2015, Edmonton's Metro reported that according to Brian Murphy, supervisor of parking management, Edmonton was getting ready to reserve parking stalls for Pogo and possibly other car sharing programs.  "The more carshares in Edmonton, probably the better", Kieran Ryan told the Metro It seems that Edmonton's progress will soon begin to match that of other cities, and that Edmontonians will be grateful for such car share initiatives.

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