Car sharing could return to Calgary this spring, if parking rules change

Car sharing could return to Calgary as soon as the spring, if negotiations between the city and a Quebec company bear fruit. 

Communauto says it's in discussions with the city and hopes for a deal soon

Communauto, which has cars in 13 Canadian cities and Paris, has announced that it will launch in Calgary. (Communauto)

Car sharing could return to Calgary as soon as the spring, if negotiations between the city and a company based in Eastern Canada bear fruit. 

Communauto, which was founded in Quebec in 1994, says it's interested in filling the void left by Car2Go after the operation suddenly pulled its fleet from Calgary last fall. 

"We hope we'll have a formal proposal somewhere in January so that we will be able to launch something in the spring, beginning of the summer," said Communauto vice-president Marco Viviani.

He said Communauto is negotiating with the city around parking and looking for wiggle room in terms of time limits in inner-city neighbourhoods. 

"We made some proposals in this sense with the city. I know that they are thinking about it and we wait for them to propose some adjustment," said Viviani.

The city reached out to other car sharing operations to understand their business models and how it might work in Calgary after Car2Go left. But Viviani said he's not worried about competition, noting his company is profitable in other cities with more than one car sharing option.

City looking at tweaks

Eric MacNaughton, a senior transportation engineer with the City of Calgary, said the city is looking at making some minor adjustments to its existing car sharing policies. Details on what that might include will have to wait until the end of January, when a report is expected to be presented to a council committee. 

However, he did indicate there would have to be more flexibility around parking. 

"I'm hopeful that we would see at least one car company coming into the Calgary market in 2020," he said. 

Calgary has been without a car sharing option since Car2Go pulled out abruptly at the end of October. Two months later, the company pulled out of North America altogether. 

Communauto allows users to book cars for short, one-way trips, as well as longer bookings and long-distance trips. It operates in 13 Canadian cities and Paris. 

With files from Lucie Edwardson


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