Car-sharing company Communauto announces launch in Calgary

The ride-sharing service Communauto is ready to begin operations in Calgary.

Car-sharing service Communauto announced it is launching in Calgary after coming to an agreement with city officials on a “free-floating” parking policy.

Starting Thursday, an initial fleet of 150

Communauto Flex

cars will be deployed in a 26-square-kilometre area of the city, from 50th Avenue S.W. to 21st Avenue N.W., and from 37th Street S.W. to 17th Street S.E. The launch was made possible when city council approved revised car-share parking policies and a traffic bylaw earlier this year.

“Communauto aims to offer a real alternative to car ownership in complement to transit and active mobility,” Benoit Robert, CEO and founder of Communauto, said during a news conference Thursday morning.

“In Calgary, we wish to grow a local mobility service, as we have for more than 25 years in many other communities in Canada.”

Communauto, which operates in 14 other Canadian cities, intends to fill the void left when Car2Go pulled out of Calgary and North America last fall.

Car2Go left Calgary syaing it was a “highly volatile” transportation market and had limited success when compared to other Car2Go cities.

Immediately following Car2Go’s announcement, Ward 8 Coun. Evan Woolley said he contacted transportation administrators to reach out to similar services to fill the gap in the city’s mobility network.

On Thursday, Woolley said car-sharing is a key component to the city’s mobility, adding it’s important for some families to have a car-sharing option to balance their budget.

“Car-share is an incredibly important tool in the mobility tool kit. We know there is massive, pent-up demand,” said Woolley, who uses car-sharing services.

“These transportation tools are essential for essential workers, grocery store workers and those who need to get around to continue to do the work of our city every day.”

Communauto was founded in 1994 with a mission to reduce the impact of cars on cities while improving access to mobility.

The service has no monthly fee, with usage costing $0.45 per minute, $15 per hour, or $50 for one day and $35 the following days. For day trips, 100 kilometres are included in the trip price, and additional kilometres are billed at $0.20 per kilometre.

Other plans allow people to use cars for $2.95 per hour, plus $0.29 per kilometre with fuel and insurance included.

“Car-sharing means fewer cars on the road and a more welcoming living environment, but without having to give up our quality of life and freedom to move and go where you want when you feel like it,” said Robert.

In the next few weeks, people can pre-register or become “beta-testers” with the exclusive use of the car for free until the complete fleet is available. The service will start up in mid-September.

Eric MacNaughton, senior transportation engineer with the city, said research done in the city shows car-sharing reduces traffic congestion and emissions.

A new three-tiered pricing system for annual parking fees for car-share vehicles makes it possible for Communauto to operate smoothly in the city. A 50 per cent discount will also be applied to parking fees for any fully electric car-share vehicle.

In terms of pandemic measures, Communauto will have hand sanitizer available in each car and the company will disinfect its vehicles weekly. Additional time up to 15 minutes before driving will be free to allow for time to disinfect.

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