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Toronto startup Facedrive launches CO2-conscious rideshare service

Eastbound traffic on Simcoe Street in Toronto, May 11, 2017.
Eastbound traffic on Simcoe Street in Toronto, May 11, 2017. Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Toronto company Facedrive Inc. launched a new rideshare service Monday that comes with an included CO2 emissions offsetting plan.

Facedrive’s app calculates the estimate CO2 emissions of each ride, and then donates an equivalent sum of money to the Toronto Parks and Tree Foundation (TPTF) charity, the company said in a press release Monday.

This means that rides involving gas-powered and hybrid cars are effectively enrolled in a carbon offsetting program wherein CO2 emissions are compensated for via Facedrive’s allocations to TPTF, which supports tree-planting and green space projects in Toronto.

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Facedrive says it aims to help plant 16,000 in trees in Toronto in the coming year.

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“This is a creative solution to tackling an important issue,” said TPTF’s executive director Carla Grant. “Planting trees is one of the most cost-effective ways we can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and an investment in urban trees increases the positive impact.”

Facedrive says payments to TPTF aren’t taken from drivers or riders but from the company’s own commissions.

“We believe things can be done differently,” Facedrive’s president Irfan Khan said. “The ridesharing model can shift to reward drivers for their hard work while offering riders a premium experience that positively contributes to the well-being of the environment.”

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Concentration of C02 in atmosphere hits record high: UN
Concentration of C02 in atmosphere hits record high: UN

Riders are also given the option of choosing between electric vehicles (which won’t partake in the emissions offsetting plan), hybrid and fuel-based cars, and can also pick between sedans and SUVs. Riders pay a base fare of either $2.50 or $5.00 depending on the type of vehicle, a minute rate and $2.75 service fee for each ride.

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Facedrive claims that its drivers will receive industry-leading payouts, with 33 per cent of its profits being invested back into its driver network.

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The company’s website says it hopes to expand its services to Montreal and other Canadian and European cities in the coming year.