My last article suggested a pedicab service as an option for seasonal neighbourhood transit. It could be a convenient and efficient alternative for short trips and errands. I’m assuming that, like other urban areas, Innisfil will accommodate more walking and bicycle paths to encourage those forms of transportation. In our car-oriented communities, we’ll need some more choices. There are a couple of other options as an alternative to automobile ownership.
Some cities, like Montreal and Paris, are experimenting with shared bicycles, in some cases electric powered. A bike can be picked up in one location and dropped off at another. Perhaps with the right network of bike paths this might be an idea to consider here as well.
Another possibility is an auto-sharing program. Franchises like Zip Car and AutoShare are popular in Toronto and other major cities. The major advantage is that users are able to drive without paying for insurance, registration, gas and maintenance. The other advantage is that auto-share members get to choose a type of vehicle best suited for each trip. It may be a compact car one day, or a van or a pick-up truck another day. Members book access to a vehicle online and drive away from a parking lot nearby. (It could be at a plaza, church, or library parking lot). They pay an annual fee plus usage charges based on time and distance. Rather than have one or more plated and insured vehicles sitting in a driveway most of the day, auto sharing could make a lot of sense for some Innisfil residents.
Or we might consider eliminating some local trips. Innisfil businesses may have an opportunity to work together to leverage use of the internet. Would it be possible to “Shop Innisfil” online through a web portal representing multiple businesses? The site would provide convenient online ordering and quick local delivery. Would time-pressed Innisfil commuters use such a service? Or could some enterprising residents start their own ‘personal shopper’ service for neighbours? I suspect some busy households would be tempted to try such a service.
Finally, if you’re tired of the mad dash to the GO train or the long haul through commuter traffic, it’s time to discuss telework (a.k.a telecommuting) either part-time or full-time with your employer as an option. It’s been estimated that up to a third of workers could perform their jobs from a remote location away from their employer. That could be from a home office or from a local ‘co-work’ space. These shared facilities are becoming more common and popular in major cities. Again, this may be an opportunity for a local entrepreneur to explore. Canadian Business magazine published a very informative article on this topic: “Co-Workspaces: No Colleagues? Why you should consider renting some” (April 26, 2010)