You might have seen them cruising around town already: a fleet of black sedans, kitted out with roof racks and adorned with bright blue lettering.
Those are EVO’s new cars, and they’re ready for use in Victoria.
The BC-based car share service has officially launched in the province’s capital, after announcing their intention to expand from Vancouver.
“We just looked at the city itself, the density, the support of the City of Victoria saying ‘hey you know what? We would definitely love to have you come here and create another transportation option for our residents,’ and kind of put it through our magic art and science of how we want to expand, and that’s kind of what made the decision,” David Wharf, EVO’s senior manager of business operations, told Victoria Buzz.
As of today, August 1st, members will now be able to use the vehicles to take trips lasting as little as a few minutes and as long as multiple days.
Created by the BCAA, EVO will offer 80 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles at rates of $0.41 per minute, $14.99 per hour, or $89.99 per day, plus service fees.
First-time members will also be required to pay a one-time signup fee of $35.00, but Wharf says there are frequent promotions offered to sign people up for free.
One of those promotions has just come and gone, offering Victoria residents a first crack at the cars with free sign-ups and additional free driving minutes. Wharf says with the promotion they saw hundreds of users taking on memberships.
“We also have over 1,000 members that are already signed up, that have Victoria addresses,” he said. “So they were signed up before we even said we were going to launch here.”
That solid foundation was one reason that EVO made the decision to expand into Victoria. Wharf says the company is being cautious about expansion, compared to other car-sharing companies like Car2Go which ultimately folded in Canada.
“We’re not looking at a whole bunch of multiple cities and trying to figure out how we can expand as quickly as possible,” he said.
“We know what the kind of ‘secret sauce’ is around making it work in Vancouver and New West and in North Van. And we know that based on that information, and our six years of experience doing this locally, that we can make it work in Victoria.”
Currently, EVO’s “home area,” where users can start and end their trips, is limited to Victoria proper and some “satellite spaces” at Camosun College and UVic. Depending on how the service is received, it may expand in the future to other parts of the CRD.
“The big thing is just ensuring that people understand that these vehicles are for Victoria,” Wharf said.
“We want to encourage everybody to sign up. Obviously, we’re really, really excited about bringing it here.”