New carshare operation in Calgary will look very different from car2go model

Montreal-based Communauto is ending its testing-phase and officially launching its carshare service in Calgary tomorrow.

The launch will see and additional 75 vehicles available for rent, bringing the total to 150 cars in operation in Calgary by the end of September. This is roughly a quarter the size of car2go’s fleet that operated in the city between 2013 and 2019.

The Communauto service will operate in a “flex zone” that covers 26 square kilometres from 50 Avenue south to 20 Avenue north, from 37 Street south to 17 Street east, and does not include the downtown core.

The return of carshare to Calgary was made possible by Council's approval of the revised Carshare Parking Policies and Bylaw earlier this year. This introduced a three-tiered pricing structure for companies and allowed vehicles to park beyond posted time limits. 

Communauto fits into Tier 2 as its business model focuses on longer daytrips. This is a very different model than car2go (Tier 3) which focused on short rides in and around the downtown, says Eric MacNaughton, Senior Transportation Engineer.

“Communauto users will not be able to end their trips in the downtown core. Communauto felt there were already enough options for people to travel into downtown such as Transit. They are much more focused on providing a service to people who want a car to go shopping, visit friends and family or head out to the mountains for a few hours.”

Under Tier 2, drivers using the new carshare service will be able to park on all residential streets in the identified zone, including streets with Residential Parking Permit requirements, as long as they follow the posted parking restrictions.

“The vehicles can be parked anywhere in the Communauto Flex zone with posted time limits of one hour or longer, but drivers still need to obey other parking restrictions like tow-away zones,” says MacNaughton. “We also have clustering policies that help to make sure carshare vehicles won’t take up too much space on the same street.”

Calgarians wanting to sign up to use Communauto’s service, can visit at this link.

Carsharing in Calgary

The purpose of the new carshare parking policies is to allow citizens and The City to enjoy the benefits of carsharing, while effectively managing carshare parking activity. The carshare parking policies focus on on-street parking as off-street parking arrangements do not have the same impact on the general public and can be addressed through individual contractual arrangements.

The policies are consistent with the following five principles:

  • Facilitate access to carshare services for citizens of Calgary.
  • Treat all carshare operators equitably, while acknowledging the differences between roundtrip and one-way carshare services.
  • Allow ease of parking for carshare operators members, to facilitate the use of carsharing and more fully benefit from the financial, social and environmental outcomes carsharing provides. Link to Communauto’s press release. They will be posting it on Friday morning.
  • Effectively manage low turn-over and clustering of carshare vehicles in congested parking areas, when and where this activity occurs.
  • Allow portions of existing or new parking space to be dedicated to carshare parking in commercial and residential areas.

You can learn more by visiting The City’s Carshare Parking Policy webpage.