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New car-sharing service Communauto launching in Calgary

Click to play video 'New Calgary ride-sharing program fills gap left by Car2Go' New Calgary ride-sharing program fills gap left by Car2Go
WATCH: A new ride-sharing company called Communauto announced its fleet of 150 vehicles will soon be driving along Calgary's streets. As Jessie Weisner reports, the option is needed after the departure of Car2Go in 2019 – Aug 27, 2020

Car sharing has returned to Calgary as Communauto launched Communauto FLEX on Thursday.

“I know Calgarians have been looking forward to the return of a car-share service,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

“Communauto FLEX will provide an affordable and convenient option, strengthening Calgary’s transportation network so individuals and families can get where they need to go.”

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An initial fleet of 150 cars has been deployed in a 26-square-kilometre area from 50 Avenue S.W. to 21 Avenue N.W., and from 37 Street S.W. to 17 Street S.E.

Read more: Share Now, formerly Car2Go, to cease all North American service in 2020

“Communauto aims to offer a real alternative to car ownership in complement to transit and active mobility,” Communauto CEO Benoit Robert said.

“That is why we propose a tariffication adapted as well to small errands, going for grocery as for weekends or vacations.”

Click to play video 'Is car-sharing coming back to Calgary? Major company eyes parking rule changes' Is car-sharing coming back to Calgary? Major company eyes parking rule changes
Is car-sharing coming back to Calgary? Major company eyes parking rule changes – Jan 30, 2020

Use of the vehicles costs $0.45/minute, $15/hour or $50 for one day and $35 the following days. For a day trip, 100 kilometres are included in the trip price and any additional kilometres are billed at $0.20/kilometre. Other plans are also offered where the car is $2.95 per hour plus $0.29/kilometre with fuel and insurance included.

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Read more: Is car-sharing coming back to Calgary? Major company eyes parking rule changes

The introduction of Communauto FLEX comes as a relief for many, including Jenny Lunan, who used to depend on Calgary’s former car-sharing company, Car2Go, regularly.

Since the company announced it would be leaving Calgary in September 2019, Lunan has purchased an electric bike.

“I bought an electric bike and that was quite a game changer and that made quite a difference. It helped cover the distance I had previously used Car2Go for,” Lunan said. “I’m happy about it, it’s still needed, I’ll still use it.”

When Car2Go announced its departure, it blamed in part City policy on parking for ridesharing companies.

As a result, City Council announced a new pricing three-tier pricing structure earlier this year.

  • Tier 1: The $450 fee per year, per car, for Tier 1 is unchanged from the city’s current policy and allows car-share operators to park vehicles in unpaid and residential permit spaces. Tier 1 does not include the downtown core.
  • Tier 2: costs $840 per year, per car, includes parking in residential, unmetered and metered zones outside of the downtown core.
  • Tier 3: $1,440 per year, per car. Allows operators to use on-street parking in all priced areas, in residential areas and in Calgary’s downtown core.

A 50 per cent discount to the annual rate will also be applied by the city for fully-electric car-share vehicles as part of the city’s Climate Resilience Strategy and Low-Emission Vehicle Strategy.

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Click to play video 'Car sharing liability issues' Car sharing liability issues
Car sharing liability issues – Dec 31, 2019

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

The service will start regularly in September.

Read more: City officials to meet with Car2go after company pulls out of Calgary

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Communauto will have increased sanitation measures once the service launches. There will be sanitizing gel in the cars, an obligation to wash hands before and after using a car and the disinfecting of the cars on a weekly basis.

Additional time of up to 15 minutes will also be offered for free before each use to allow drivers to disinfect the interior of the car.

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