You may have noticed an array of blue and white compacts from Car2go zipping around your neighbourhood over the last year. Whether they a become a more permanent feature of the city in the future is down to a Toronto City council vote, which will decide if the green light should be given to a new one-year car share pilot. Transport staff will begin talks today regarding benefits of selling up to 2,000 residential parking permits to companies offering “free-floating” car rentals.
The nifty Car2go service allows users to rent a vehicle and be charged by the minute, forgoing the traditional rental office. Instead, cars can be accessed at the touch of a button using an app, which determines the closest parked vehicle to a user. The service has already seen impressive growth, with a a 40% jump in usage last year compared to the first half of 2016.
Car2go bosses are “optimistic” that city hall will grant them the go-ahead, after a proposal from Transportation Services listed a number of car share benefits, including: “reduced vehicle ownership rates; reduced household transportation costs; reduced vehicle kilometres travelled; reduced greenhouse gases and emissions; and an increase in walking, cycling, and transit use."
The business also claims to compliment existing transport services within the city by “bridging the first and last mile of a member’s commute”.
However, not all reactions to the service are positive. Speaking to CBC, Coun. Gord Perks criticized the service’s past behaviour: "Car2go has happily, willfully, very publicly, been breaking our parking laws.”
The app works by assigning vehicle drop off and pick up points in various parking spots across the city, which have been known to breach some parking restrictions.
Despite this, the firm remains positive. Paul DeLong, CEO of car2go North America, said: "In the city's own words, Toronto is well suited for car sharing, given its high population density in the downtown core.
“Car2go has invested years working with key stakeholders including Transportation Services, the mayor's office, and City Councillors to effectively address any concerns they may have.”
If approved, the pilot will begin on April 1.