Generally, yes. Potential DRVC members must have a Missouri driver’s license and not have any legal restrictions against driving. We are open to non-Dancing Rabbit members joining the DRVC if they are interested. In fact, three of our DRVC members live at Red Earth Farms, a neighboring intentional community.
How much will it cost to use a car?
Members pay a refundable deposit on joining (to provide operating capital and protect DRVC against members who accumulate a deficit, then leave suddenly). For general usage, a per mile fee is charged. Currently, our fee is $0.60/mile. In the future, the per mile fee may vary based on which vehicle is being driven, since a big truck costs more per mile to drive than a compact car, we expect it to be in the range of $0.50-0.60/mile. For comparison, businesses generally reimburse for personal car use at the rate of $0.485/mile–and they’re not running on alternative fuels!
Members can cut their costs by carsharing, since a car still costs $0.60/mile to use even if there are three people in it, each paying $0.20/mile. Also, at some point in the future, the DRVC may run subsidized regular trips into nearby Kirksville, Quincy, Ottumwa, and Memphis, and errands piggybacked onto these regular trips might end up being cheaper.
I want a car that’s dependable. Will that be a problem?
Not at all–we all want a dependable car! The DRVC has a Maintenance Team of responsible people who make sure cars are kept in reliable running order. This includes doing preventative maintenance to preempt potential problems before they even begin. A good example of this system is in use at Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, VA, where 100 people share about a dozen vehicles.
Won’t the cars be dirty inside with so many people using them?
In any shared situation, there’s always a chance that a mess will accumulate. However, it seems simple enough to set up a system of personal responsibility and regular cleaning that will keep DRVC cars acceptably clean.
What’s the connection between Dancing Rabbit and the DRVC?
There is no specific legal connection between the two groups; Dancing Rabbit is in charge of the general operation of the demonstration ecovillage project, while the DRVC provides transportation alternatives for DR residents.
What will I have to do to get to use a car?
There is a system of signing out vehicles to prevent time conflicts. DRVC members coordinate vehicle needs and ridesharing opportunites through an on-line travel calendar and in person as part of our Dancing Rabbit Week-In-Preview meetings. Good systems for handling vehicle use are modeled by Twin Oaks and other carsharing groups in the USA, Canada, and Europe.
Who will be in charge of the co-op?
The DRVC will be democratically run (all members will have equal access to control). The membership has appointed people to run the day to day operations of the corporation, including the roles of Secretary, Treasurer, Billing, and Vehicle Maintenance.
Will an emergency vehicle always be available?
Yes, we’d like to keep an emergency vehicle available at all times in case of medical problems. As the DRVC grows and owns more cars, it will become more and more likely that an emergency vehicle or vehicles will be available at any given time.
Will all the cars be run on alternative fuels?
Yes, in accordance with the Covenants of the Dancing Rabbit Land Trust, all DRVC vehicles will be run on renewable fuels. For the foreseeable future, that probably means biodiesel (vegetable oil-based diesel fuel we make onsite from used fast-food fryer oil). In the future, ethanol, hydrogen, or electrically-powered vehicles might also be an option.
What about business vehicles?
Currently, business users sign out DRVC cars in the same manner as any individual would.
What types of vehicles will be available?
The DRVC currently owns a diesel VW Jetta and a Ford F350 Truck. In the future, DRVC will operate a mix of small passenger cars, larger passenger vehicles suitable for group trips, pickup trucks, or whatever else is needed by its members. This will allow people to have access to the vehicle they need for a specific task, whether it’s going to the airport or hauling tons of firewood. In addition, the DRVC owns a child bicycle trailer available for use by members. The DRVC might get more fully involved with other forms of alternative transportation in the future, as its goal is to provide “transportation” for its members, not just specifically cars. This might include bikes, golf carts, horses, pedal-powered cars, and so forth.
What about people with poor driving records?
The DRVC would like to make its services available to all. However, if insurance costs or safety concerns arise due to people with a history of accidents, it’s possible that these people would only be allowed access to certain vehicles on which the higher insurance rate was being paid.
How are DRVC cars insured?
DRVC vehicles are insured as business vehicles through State Farm Insurance.