Guest Post: My Nanaimo Modo
Denise Bonin is a former Nanaimo CarShare members who recently transitioned to a Modo membership, enjoying the four new Modo locations in Nanaimo. Learn about her carsharing story on the island.
Denise Bonin: My Nanaimo Modo
Nanaimo, the Harbour City! And so much more! This is where I live and have since the turn of the millennium. Actually, I live on a small island protecting the Nanaimo Harbour, aptly named Protection Island. We discovered this gem in the early 1990’s when even then house prices were going crazy in Vancouver. We bought a lot, built a house and dreamed about retiring to the island. Well, that all changed when a series of circumstances brought us to our island home much sooner than expected and we have embraced it!
Zipping across Nanaimo Harbour after a lovely workout session at the track. Lots of sunshine! Lots of block starts for my workout, then loads of coaching fun with the JD kids. Feeling fit and ready for the first track meet of the year – this weekend – in Nanaimo! Home turf, er, I mean track! Such a wonderful vibe amongst the Masters group and all the kids too! Come up to the Rotary Bowl (at NDSS) track to cheer on Saturday and Sunday! #gottarun #trackworkout #trackandfield #explorenanaimo #nanaimoharbour #boatergirl #gratitude #runningwithfriends #funinthesun #nanaimotrackandfieldclub
Protection Island does not have car ferry access, just a foot passenger ferry or personal watercraft to cross the less than 1 km stretch of water. This means that people living there, cannot drive to their homes. If they need to get around in Nanaimo, they are reliant on transportation options in the city. Of course these include the usual: bus, taxi, bike, walking, running, and personal vehicles. An additional inconvenience, is that there is no designated Protection Island resident parking supplied by the City, so for car owners, we either pay for parking or gamble with street parking or a few other risky options.
Second vehicle – Nanaimo/Vancouver Connection
We have always had a family vehicle and we pay for parking in downtown Nanaimo, but when we first moved to the island and my husband returned to his job in Vancouver after his year of sabbatical, I was without a vehicle for several days during the week with two school aged children. I needed a reliable transportation solution, in a convenient location, to take myself and kids to events and appointments at a reasonable cost.
Thankfully, back in 2001, the Co-operative Auto Network (CAN) had one car in Nanaimo, which friends of mine, also living on Protection Island used and recommended to me. It became my reliable “second car” mode of transport in Nanaimo. I don’t remember the make of car back then, but it served me well! Many trips were made in that car, hauling children, lumber, garden supplies, cats to the vet, and luggage, etc. Carsharing has been a lifeline for my business as well, taking me to client visits, plus fitness and running training sessions.
The Nanaimo cars were available to us even after CAN rebranded to Modo in 2011. The connection to the mainland served me well as I could then also use the vehicles in Vancouver for business trips, all under the same carsharing umbrella.
Goodbye (Temporarily) Modo, Hello Nanaimo CarShare
Shortly after the rebranding, Modo consolidated their fleet to the Lower Mainland. Recognizing an immediate need in Nanaimo, a group of dedicated carsharing folks banded together to from the Nanaimo Carshare; as I recall, this happened in Victoria, as well. I quickly joined that group, transferred my deposit, and continued in my carsharing journey, although without the same direct connection to the Vancouver cars. Modo offered a roaming option but instead, I somehow managed with the public transit system there.
Meanwhile in Nanaimo, I continued to use the carshare as before, but aIso now used it visit my Mother who had recently moved to the harbour city. Many a trip was made with the car to doctor appointments and lunch dates as well as just friendly visits to play cards or help her with a wee bit of fitness!
Goodbye Nanaimo CarShare, Hello Modo, again!
After six years and many dedicated hours by many volunteers, in Nanaimo, the decision was made to close down the Nanaimo Carshare and transition to Modo. In those six years, Modo had grown quickly and was better equipped to support more remote locations. Plus,a precedent had been set with the amalgamation of Modo and Victoria Car Share Co-op! Now we are one big happy carsharing family! I used the new Modo service for the first time last week in Nanaimo and funnily enough, when I signed on to the online system (for booking and managing your account), my old Modo records were still in the system. It felt like I had come home.
The Nanaimo Modo cars are essentially my second vehicle. But, I have to say that 2 of the vehicles are so conveniently located for me—within easy walking distance—in downtown Nanaimo, that it would almost make sense give up on our owned car. There is no fuss with parking (the spots are designated) or car repair (Modo does all that) and best of all the online booking system that is so convenient (desktop, tablet or smartphone).
I’m a runner and a fitness trainer and I think it is quite appropriate that my most used Modo car in Nanaimo is the Honda Fit! For my lifestyle and for where I live, I love the convenience and the economy of the Nanaimo Modo cars and have done so through all it’s various renditions for the past 16 years. I plan to keep on using this awesome service for many years to come!