Driver Reimbursement Guidelines

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Cars are often necessary for VOC trips, and are (unfortunately) quite expensive. Often passengers are not aware of the true cost of vehicle ownership, or the annoying things they might do without realizing it. Drivers can forget that they were once passengers too, and their passengers probably have the best intentions.

Things to keep in mind as a passenger

  • Nothing says "I don't appreciate what you did for me" more effectively than not chipping in for gas.
  • Driving around the city to pick everybody up takes time - your driver probably got up an hour earlier than you, and won't get home until an hour after you. Be outside, ready to go in the morning.
  • If you ride "shotgun" (the front passenger seat) it's expected that you stay awake with the driver to help navigate and keep them awake. If you can't do it, try and switch with one of the other passengers.
  • Cars are expensive. Insurance alone costs between $80 and $300 per month, depending on driving history and coverage. Ownership may average at around perhaps $2000 per year, but varies wildly.
  • You often forget stuff in people's cars. Usually garbage. Please try and take it with you.
  • Your driver may "trump" dinner decisions one way or the other (no food, fast and dirty, sit down meal). Keep in mind that they are the ones who need to stay awake and alert for everybody to stay alive on the drive home, so be forgiving.
  • Once you have accepted a ride, don't bail. If you do, your driver will be out of pocket by the amount you would have paid, unless you can be replaced as a passenger. And you may be depriving somebody else of the chance to go on the trip by taking (and then not using) a ride. Be reliable.

Things to keep in mind as a driver

Main article: How to have a smooth driving experience

Suggested Reimbursement

Passengers pay for gas, wear-and-tear, parking etc. for that trip, drivers "pay" by bringing the car but otherwise ride for free. If you're overloaded you might "make" a bit of money (but probably incurred more wear and tear), and if you only have one or two passengers maybe chip in for a bit of the gas yourself.

As a benchmark, assume your driver will burn 10L per 100km (if a car) or 15L per 100km (if a truck), and charge a little extra for wear and tear. Expect them to round up to the nearest easy increment. If driving up a logging road expect more "extra" for wear and tear - this stuff is hard on vehicles. Drivers - if you feel you need to charge substantially more than this, let your passengers know in advance so they can have enough cash.

Those whose vehicles can and do accommodate a bunch of gear (i.e. pickup trucks) but not many passengers should be reimbursed somehow, since they are still providing a helpful service despite not having many passengers, and they are probably paying more to have a bigger vehicle.

If you or your pack get ferried up a logging road, please consider giving some extra to the driver of the 4x4. If they get a good tip for their time, gas, wear and tear they might consider doing it again - otherwise they probably won't.

On larger trips, one or two drivers might be contributing a carsharing vehicle (Modo, Zipcar, ...). Since they are more expensive than other cars, it might be a nice gesture if all other passengers contribute a little bit towards that cost. The easiest way to do this is if all other drivers give some money to the carsharing drivers and in turn collect a bit more money from their passengers.

Random major expenses which "pop up" - flat tires, speeding tickets, mechanical breakdown, etc. are the responsibility of the car owner, just as they would be if they occurred outside a VOC trip.

Empty Seats

There seems to be some agreement that if your car is full (say a driver and 4 passengers), the gas expense is split among the passengers, and the driver doesn't pay for gas. If there are empty seat(s), then the gas expense may be split among all the people in the car at the drivers discretion.

A driver might choose to not drive if he/she has too many empty seats. Of course if a passenger bails, and this produces "too many empty seats", the other passengers suffer.

Vehicle Cost Comparison

The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) annually releases a Driving Costs, a report on the costs of car ownership. They describe the typical per kilometer variable costs as well as fixed depreciation costs. The most useful chart on the report for our purposes is "Average Annual Operating Costs per Kilometre- Variable" on page 4.

The chart below attempts to capture the marginal cost of bringing a particular vehicle on a trip compared to leaving it in the city. Insurance and parking costs are not included in the total because they are fixed costs. Only part of the depreciation cost is considered because some depreciation occurs even if a vehicle is not driven, simply due to age.

Vehicle Fuel economy (typical L/100km) Tires Regular Maintenance (per 5,000 km) Repairs Depreciation Insurance (per year) Parking (per year) Fuel cost (cents/km) Tire cost (cents/km) Maintenance Cost (cents/km) Repair Cost (cents/km) Depreciation Cost - Mileage component only (cents/km) Total (cents/km)
Madeline (2001 Nissan Pathfinder) 13 (on 89 Octane fuel) summer tires: $1,200 / 75,000km. winter tires: $850/ ??km $100 ~$2,500 over 75,000km so far Estimate $20,000 over 175,000km and 10 years. 50% due to mileage, 50% due to age $2,000 15.6 1.6 2 3.3 5.7 28.2
Sam (2003 Toyota Corolla) 7 9 1.2 4.7 (incl in Maintenance) 5.1 20
Scott's Car (1993 Plymouth Colt) 8 $750 / 75000km (including damage repair/replacement) $100 (includes only minor items such as oil, filters, plugs, wiper blades etc.) $4,000 / previous 80,000 km (includes everything else, but not significant tool investment) Estimate $15,000 over 15 years, assume $6,000 of that from 300,000 km $950 (not included in km figures) 10 1 2 5 2 20
Jacob (1994 Ford Ranger) 12 $800 / 75000km $100 $1000 $0 $2000 13.8 1 2 5 26.8
Evan's Car (1999 4Runner) 13 $1,000 / 75000km (excluding extra snow tires) $150 (estimated) est. $1,000 / yr at 20k/yr = $25/500km => $15-25 per trip! $1,000 / yr seems appropriate, but should be an owner's expense IMO $$$ 15.6 1.3 3 5 2 26.9
Roland (2002 Jeep Liberty) 14 $900 / 75000km $100 $1000 / year $0.09/km, 50% mileage, 50% age No marginal cost No parking cost 16.8 1.3 2 5 4.5 29
Roland (1991 Isuzu Trooper) 12 $900 / 75000km $100 $2,000 / year Troopers do not depreciate No marginal cost 13 1.3 2 10 0 26.3
Will W. (2003 Toyota 4Runner) 13 $1,500 / 75000km $150 ~$400 over 40,000km so far ~$2,000/year for the next few years (50/50 age/milage @20,000km/yr) $2,200 $600 15.6 2 3 1 5 27
Paul L. (1989 Ford Taurus) 11 $975 / 75000km $80 ~$600 over 10,000km It's an '89 Taurus. It has no value left to lose. $1260 13.2 1.3 1.6 6 22.1
Colin's (1998 Heavily Modified 4Runner) 14 $1200 / 40000 km (33" M/T snow tire hybrids - soft rubber) $200 (fluids, belts, brakes, wipers, cleaning, bulbs, rotations, etc) $1,500 (averaged) $1,000 (about half to mileage) $2000 (with perfect record) $300 (est. chunk of rent to garage) 16.8 3 4 10 3.3 37.1
Bob's (2006 Civic) 8 haven't replaced tired yet, coming up soon ~$750/75000 km $150 ~$1000 so far ~$2,000/year for the next few years (50/50 age/milage @20,000km/yr) $2000 $50 10 1 3 1.2 5 20.2

Some Distances (according to Google Maps)

  • Note: distances are one way, starting from the SUB (6138 Student Union Bouldevard) calculated with google maps.
Destination City (km) Highway (km) Gravel (km) Rough 4x4 (km) One Way Total (km)
Coquihalla: Falls Lake 18 193 0 0 211
Coquihalla: Zopikos (Needle Peak, Yak, Nak, Zupjok) 18 187 0 0 205
Manning Park Lodge 18 209 0 0 227
Manning Park Ski Hill 18 220 0 0 238
Squamish - smoke bluffs. 20 56 0 0 76
Diamond Head Parking Lot 21 59 13 0 93
Brew Hut 20 86 2 0 106 to highway turnoff
Rubble Creek - Garibaldi Lake / Black Tusk 20 91 0 0 109 to end of plowed road. 111 to parking lot
Whistler Creek 20 109 0 0 129
Whistler Village 20 114 0 0 134
Rogers Pass 18 625 0 0 ?
Phelix Creek (Birkenhead Lake Park) 20 186 13 6 219 to start of logging road. 225 to end of logging road