Calgary

Car-sharing rolls back into Calgary as Communauto offers 150 vehicles in some inner-city neighbourhoods

Calgary will soon have car-sharing for the first time in nearly a year, as Montreal-based Communauto reaches a deal with the city that will offer an initial fleet of 150 vehicles in select inner-city neighbourhoods.

Montreal-based firm says initial fleet of 150 cars will be deployed

Benoit Robert, CEO and founder of Communauto, announces the arrival of his company's car-share service in Calgary on Aug. 27. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Calgary will soon have car-sharing for the first time in nearly a year, as Montreal-based Communauto reaches a deal with the city that will offer an initial fleet of 150 vehicles in select inner-city neighbourhoods.

Calgary has been without a car-sharing service since Car2Go pulled out of the city last October, prior to pulling out of North America altogether.

Communauto said it would initially have 150 vehicles spread over 26 square kilometres from 50th Avenue S.W. to 21st Avenue N.W., and from 37th Street S.W. to 17th Street S.E. 

"Today, we start with a limited fleet in a certain area ready to expand the service following the demand of Calgarians," Benoit Robert, CEO and founder of Communauto, said in a release Thursday as the deal was announced.

"In Calgary, we wish to grow a local mobility service, as we did since more than 25 years in many other communities in Canada."

The area in green represents where Communauto users can leave the cars when done with them. Communauto says for now, users will not be able to end a session and leave a car in the downtown core. They can, however, make a stopover and pay for their own parking.  (Communauto/Google Maps)

Over the next few weeks, people can pre-register or become beta-testers with the exclusive use of a car for free, until the complete fleet is available. 

The service will fully roll out in September.

The service has no monthly fee and its usage costs $0.45/minute, $15/hour or $50 for one day and $35 the following days.

Other plans are offered allowing people to use cars for $2.95/hour, plus $0.29/km, with fuel and insurance included.

Because of COVID-19, Communauto says increased sanitization measures will include offering sanitizing gel in the cars, requiring drivers to wash hands before and after use and disinfecting the cars on a weekly basis. The company said it also plans to offer up to 15 minutes for free before each use to give people time to disinfect vehicles if desired.

Negotiations between the company and the city began earlier this year, with Communauto negotiating around parking and time limits in inner-city neighbourhoods. 

In a release, the city said it has developed a tiered approach to charging car-share companies for on-street parking. 

  • In Tier 1, firms will be charged $50 per year per car to park vehicles in unpaid and residential permit spaces. 
  • Tier 2 includes parking in residential  unmetered and metered zones outside of the downtown core at a cost of $840 per year  per car.
  • Tier 3 costs $1,440 per year per car, allowing a company's customers to use on-street parking in all priced areas, in residential areas and in Calgary's downtown core.

Communauto spokesperson Marco Viviani says, for now, the company is paying for Tier 2 parking rights.

That means users will not be able to end a session and leave a car in the downtown core. They can, however, make a stopover and pay for their own parking.

Communauto says on-street parking in the FLEX Zone is allowed — including in neighbourhoods and in time-limited and residential parking zones. 

Communauto was founded in Quebec in 1994 and now operates in 17 cities including Edmonton. The firm has a fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles.

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