Car and Vehicle Sharing Club
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 2020 10:11:27 -0700 (PDT)
These are the notes I took on the presentation of Lancaster Cohousing on their 
car sharing club. These emphasize the points that my community might be 
interested in but I don’t think much was left out — with the exception of a 
brief discussion of including people outside of the community.

Would others on the call correct anything I’ve messed up?

I also posted screenshots of the software a member designed for them here:

I attended the webinar by Lancaster Cohousing on their car sharing club last 
week. I would like to share how theirs works in hopes that we can start one 
here. There’s has been going I think 10 years so it is large but shows what can 
be developed.

1. LEGALLY INDEPENDENT. Lancaster is set up as a club independently from the 
cohousing Association. Various things would have been more expensive if it was 
associated with an organization instead of just members. Members pay an annual 
membership fee of ~$30 and then pay costs per mile + a cost per hour when using 
a vehicle. These are adjusted often depending on actual costs—repair, 
insurance, etc. 

2. WORK IS PAID IN DRIVING CREDIT. They have one auto shop where they take the 
vehicles for maintenance and repair. The members who do this get credit for 
their time. They established a “wage” of ~$10-15 an hour and this is credited 
to their account to offset driving charges. Everyone who works on required 
tasks has the same arrangement—billing, website, city paperwork, etc. Checking 

3. VEHICLES ARE DONATED FOR DRIVING CREDIT. They have 25-30 members and 6 (?) 
cars and bikes, electric bikes, adult trike, a cargo bike, and a mobility 
scooter. The vehicles were initially donated and the owners given credit toward 
driving hours.

4. PART OF A PLAN TO REDUCE CAR USE OVERALL. The car-sharing plan was developed 
in conjunction with a larger plan to reduce the use of cars. They arranged for 
onsite delivery of milk, fish, etc. for example.

spaces. They reduced spaces required by having a percentage of units signing 
pledges that promised using other means of transportation than owning a car.

6. EACH VEHICLE HAS DIFFERENT FEATURES. The reservations are made for specific 
vehicles that have specific equipment — car seats, seats 7, electric, etc., 
roof racks, etc.

7. INCREDIBLE SOFTWARE. The call was prompted by questions on Cohousing-L  
about how do you do this or that. Everyone wants to do it but can’t figure out 
the details. Their software allows them to have a million possibilities. A 
member wrote it 10 years ago. He doesn’t want to support it for other 
communities to use but it’s open source so others can use it.  There were 
people on the call who were interested in doing this. I’ll list some of the 
possibilities that the software supports:

— COMMUNICATIONS. The schedule is on a website that is open and available to 
all members. They can schedule a vehicle, put in a note about what they need 
(CVS, etc.), make arrangement with each other to share rides or switch 
vehicles, etc. The software enabled great flexibility.
— RANGE OF PERSONAL OPTIONS. When reservations are made members indicate 
whether they want to be private, will share, will pick up items, etc. Flexible 
time or not. Flexible about changing cars. Etc. Sometimes people arrange to go 
with someone and come back with someone else. Can list destination or not.
— EXTEND RESERVATIONS. With the website people can check to see if anyone is 
waiting for their car and extend reservations. Or contact the person about 
switching cars, etc
— LIST NEEDS. People can list what they need like a lift to the train station, 
pick up package at…, etc. Other drivers can then take on these errands.
— INDIVIDUAL RESERVATIONS FOR EACH VEHICLE — can reserve a specific vehicle for 
a specific time. Thus you know you will have car seats, need gas, etc.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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