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Shifting carsharing into high gear

Video: Modo The Car Co-op

About this story

  • Organization
    Modo The Car Co-op
  • Region
    Lower Mainland, BC
  • Area of impact
    Energy & Environment
  • Type of investment
    Grant and Line of credit

In 1997, Modo – with a grant from Vancity – became the first and only member-owned co-operative in our region. With Vancity’s support, Modo purchased two cars and began serving 16 members in Vancouver’s West End. Fast-forward 20 years and a lot has changed. Carsharing has become “a thing” and an affordable and convenient alternative to private vehicle ownership.

Today, Modo remains focused on people before profit, with a social purpose to transform communities by connecting people with places in a way that’s affordable, convenient, inclusive and sustainable. With more than 20,000 members across the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan, Modo’s humble beginnings have since grown to a vibrant fleet of over 600 cars, trucks, SUVs and vans.

Through flexible and convenient banking products, Vancity has been a key financial partner on Modo’s road to success. By increasing the carshare provider’s line of credit, Modo was able to finance its growth and expansion plans in a way never imaginable more than 20 years ago.

“Being able to leverage our line of credit to grow our fleet from 16 vehicles to over 600 has been one of the keys to our success,” says Selena McLachlan, Director of Marketing & Communications at Modo.

“But even beyond banking, Vancity has been a strong partner and advocate of carsharing. Co-ops helping co-ops is principle number six of the Seven International Co-operative Principles. The relationship between Modo and Vancity truly exemplifies this.”

Indeed, Vancity and Modo share similar values, a core understanding in a relationship that has only deepened over the years.

The relationship continues to evolve. In 2011, Vancity awarded Modo a community project grant to convert one of its cars to a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Today, one in five Modo vehicles is a hybrid or electric.

Modo is giving back: with a genuine concern for community it’s committed to social purpose: it offers its proprietary booking software to other Canadian carshare co-ops looking to get started. It’s these types of initiatives that make Modo a leader in the co-operative business community.

It’s also one more reason why people feel good about choosing Modo. They’re making a choice that benefits their pocketbook, their community and the planet.