electric waterfront shuttles

A couple weeks ago I saw a booth for zipcars at the Globe 2008 Trade Fair, then Michael Geller talked about tuk-tuks in his SFU City Program lecture last week, and this weekend I saw electric GEM rental cars in Seaside, Oregon.

GEM e6 electric vehicle for 6 passengers

Putting those three concepts together, I came up with an idea that I think would alleviate parking stress on the waterfront.

Imagine this: a public transportation service that requires no staff operators, responds to the weather, has very low maintenance costs, upfront capital costs in the tens of thousands — not hundreds of thousands or millions, and requires no large fleet service or storage facility.

This is my vision… Six-seater electric vehicles driven by independent entrepreneurs ferrying passengers between far-flung parking lots and along the waterfront. Drivers are registered with the City. They choose when they want to check out a vehicle. They pay an hourly rental fee for the vehicle. Passengers pay a small fee (such as $1) for the service, perhaps purchased from the City’s parking meter. The driver collects tickets from passengers and redeems them with the City. Their only overhead is their time and the vehicle rental rate. The City gets more efficient use of its existing parking lots and expanded capacity for the waterfront commercial district.

I figure a pilot project could be run this summer for maybe as little as $15,000.

There are all kinds of problems that are easy to think of, but I think the solutions are just as easy. If a pilot project were successful, there are some technologies that could be applied to greatly improve security, streamline the payment process, and create a system where a driver can be notified of a ride request.

If nothing else, this concept has potential to solve the employee parking problem. Merchants with staff working late night could use a shuttle to get their staff safely home or to their vehicles in the Semiahmoo lot.

This is an innovative experiment that we can do now to expand the capacity of our waterfront using parking spaces that already exist.

2 Responses to “electric waterfront shuttles”

  1. Johan Sandstrom Says:

    Visit Johan Sandstrom

    Matt Todd,,great fiction….’zooom, zoom, zom, zo,..zzzzz. Sorry,I just got out of the dream…If you snooze you lose’?

    All kidding aside. Toyota have hybrids…they are so enviro-friendly and economical and foremost quiet so ..speak to them up on King George Highway & 148th Str. and ask them to sponsor a fleet of vans…they might like the idea?

    Your idea is as lope sided and weird and irrelevant as the idea, once upon the time held by and strongly promoted by a former Mayor of White Rock who insisted the Burlington Railroad Santa Fe and AMTRAK should ’stop and go’ at our White Rock Museum and this supposedly to great benefits for the residents and merchants of White Rock, BC.

    Your fresh thoughts of ‘utopia’ will amuse your fellow councilors and serve as a great wake up call to those sleeping at the switch.

    But still , please do go ahead..our city has funds available and might as well be a little ‘ loose with the purse’ and grant the ‘experiment’ you propose.

    Yes, allocate means $25,000.00 for a pilot project, alternatively start to visit [Google - Europe] and the USA for ‘free research of pilot projects already implemented and in the works.

    Maybe you can hire a consultant to hold the reins?

    My webpage WhiteRockReporter.com contains content with regards to electric cars made in Canada!! [If Quebec still count as Canadian official province].

    Drivers needed:
    Driver Class 4 License with no infractions [to be able to commercially transport and charge fee/token for rides.

    Further Insurance:
    liabilities and the City’s obligations and liability performance towards ‘claimants’.

    Pending your fee as proposed to be a ‘token ride up and a token ride down to the seaside I think CEO and the City as a whole would lose and parking lots would be less frequented if not empty [almost].

    Entrepreneurship spirit and privatization are fine concepts to be stimulated, but won’t work in this case…or…’correct me if I am wrong’.

    I have been observing the White Rock ‘cow’ over the past 15 years [i.e. the parking revenue cow] and like any business it needs serious management at the helm.
    Not ticket conductors but people with a vision of ‘how to truly find a solution to the parking challenges for both tourist, residents and the city of White Rock itself.
    Imagine how attractive it would be for a ’senior’ elderly or handicapped person to plunk a loony into a bus till and ride down for a buck to see the seaside once a week, at least. Affordable!

    How safe it would be for children, kids and adults as well to just take the ‘token ride from uptown to seaside and perhaps the ride would go the ‘ring road’ and serve more than tipsy or sober restaurant visitors at late hours or early mornings?

    [Have you noticed, by the way, mornings are all ‘dried up’ on the Marine drive West beach].

    No way for a tourist to go have coffee for a breakfast before 8.30 AM [any day!!]. Shameful lack of service on the part of those who could offer just that; food in the morning.

    How is White Rock going to transform itself to become a ‘tourist destination’ when so many nice places are not open during hours when tourists and other visitors are ‘moving about’ our neighborhoods?

    ONE HAS TO TRAVEL NORTH INTO SOUTH SURREY AND HIT ‘Tom Horton’ or ABC…for some nutrition prior to sightseeing White Rock, the bird life, the eel grass and the pier and the totems and the historic museum and all the garbage ’stacked on the sidewalks’ at the most weird hours [that’s another ’sermon’ I rest my case.

    Please Matt your fresh and ingenious ideas and ‘discoveries’ that may benefit our City and its visitors and residents are ‘exciting’ because with two exceptions you are seemingly the only one who ventures outside the box and still serving on Council.

    I would hate see you go. Scrub the lead you have taken in the Spirited Square…rest your case and spend the money, and I repeat, 'on something that truly would benefit our community and not serve as only ‘garnish on the plum cake’ in the process of occupying a committee and aggravating the constituency' of yours.

    Be a pal to both young and older…go big or go home and ask the Province to let the City of White Rock collect and keep and do what it wishes to do with half a million dollars or more.

    Matt , I realize it is difficult to soar like an eagle when you have to depend and work with turkeys [the Provincial government… Campbell & Co]….
    I’ve been there and done that and have no hopes you will make a mark…but you never know. Miracles happen.

    Bless your fortitude, but please don’t bring in to debate any more ‘castles of nirvana’. Our ‘White Rock Sandcastle Competition’ is not until August 3rd this year.
    Correct me if I am wrong.
    Best of luck and regards.
    Read: http://www.WhiteRockReporter.com

  2. dl Says:

    Visit dl

    Buy a $20,000 house in Manitoba town, get a free golf cart to drive around

    Town that banned bags touts golf carts

    Kathryn Young, CanWest News Service
    Published: Thursday, August 23, 2007

    The tiny town in northern Manitoba that was first in Canada to ban
    plastic shopping bags is now turning its attention to gas-powered

    Leaf Rapids Mayor Ed Charrier wants residents to drive electric golf
    carts around town instead. “Why would you start your vehicle for a two-
    second ride uptown?” asked Charrier, who plans to buy his own cart
    next spring. “Jump in a golf cart.”

    While he doesn’t plan to ban gas-powered automobiles, he will promote
    energy-saving golf carts. The town of 600 people is only about three
    kilometres from end to end, with homes, shopping, parks and the lake
    connected by a network of trails.

    “You could take a golf cart on them, cruise around all over and start
    cutting down on greenhouse gases,” said Charrier, who drives a Ford
    half-ton pickup on the 215-kilometre trips into Thompson, the nearest

    As an incentive, the town will offer a free golf cart with each of 66
    houses that the town bought last March, fixed up and put on the
    market. (The homes have stood empty since 2002 when the local mine

    full article: http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=148eb4...

    or http://tinyurl.com/2l4wn4

    FYI: a really interesting video to watch is: “who killed the electric car” it’s at the video store -thrift and johnston

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