Car sharing proving popular in downtown Calgary

People in downtown Calgary are embracing the city's newest car share service.

Blue and white car service launched in July

Car2go launched in Calgary at the end of July. The service has been successful in downtown, but has yet to penetrate the suburbs. (Katy Anderson/CBC)

People in downtown Calgary are embracing the city's newest car share service.

The blue and white Car2go smart cars are popping up throughout the inner city.

Warren Coates works downtown and says he thinks it could replace short taxi rides.

"Parking is expensive, traffic congestion is an issue, and cabs are — it's embarrassing. Frankly, my personal opinion of the cab service here, it's embarrassing. The cabs aren't very nice. The cab drivers are, but they're not really that nice of cabs."

For a one-time $35 membership, drivers can take any available car for 35 cents a minute and leave it in any public parking spot at no extra cost.

"We had a meeting to go to and I thought we're parked in this cage, and I have to get it out of the parking garage and all of that stuff, me and our CEO, so we just hopped into one of these things and bombed down to our meeting," said Coates.

Bryan Romanesky is an urban planner who lives and works downtown.

He credits Car2go with making car sharing easy — there's no paperwork, no charge for parking or gas  and the vehicles are usually nearby.

CBC Calgary will have more on this story on TV at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

But he says its reach is limited so far.

"Car2go is something we know about. We see on the street all of the time, we see their kiosk promoting the Car2go," said Romanesky.

"When we talk to our friends who live in the suburbs, a lot of them don't even know what it is, so we tell them the story, and they just can't believe we have that in Calgary."

Car2go, a German-based company owned by car manufacturer Daimler, came to Calgary at the end of July with 150 of them.

Calgary Carshare began in 1999, and has grown to seven vehicles and 150 members.