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In February I shared the disappointing news with you that Toronto City Council had failed yet again to establish a free-float carshare pilot, and I made you a promise that we’d share an update on any changes to car2go’s operations in Toronto once we completed a thorough review.

While we were conducting our review, Toronto City Council passed a free-float carshare pilot during the April 2018 session. Unfortunately, the pilot they decided to pass is so heavily amended and restrictive that it makes the continuation of car2go service in Toronto inoperable. For this reason, we must suspend operations as of May 31st.

This is not the result we were expecting and to say we are disappointed would be a huge understatement. We have spent nearly six years attempting to collaborate with the City of Toronto to establish an effective regulatory framework for free-float carshare. Despite our best efforts, your City Councillors decided to pass a pilot that ultimately weakens mobility options for Torontonians and prevents us from providing car2go service for 80,000 Torontonian members once the pilot legally takes effect June 1st.

Again, this is not at all the result we wanted, or were expecting. Since car2go made vehicles available to find and park on-street in early 2016, car2go Toronto membership increased by 51 per cent and Toronto became the most active carshare city of all 26 cities in which car2go operates worldwide. We know Torontonians love free-float carshare, but the legal framework City Council set forth effectively forces us to leave the city. That’s not what we want to do, but we are left with no other choice given the severe restrictions set forth in the pilot.

Why car2go is being forced to leave Toronto:

On April 27th Toronto City Council imposed amendments to its proposed free-floating carshare pilot which sets forth a legal framework effectively making it impossible for car2go to successfully operate in Toronto. Amendments include:

Widespread street restrictions – with more expected

The pilot eliminates all residential permit streets in Toronto currently waitlisted at 95 per cent and above. This means that almost 10,000 parking spaces where Torontonians regularly start and end car2go trips today will be forbidden once the pilot begins. In fact, approximately 50 per cent of all trips Torontonian car2go members take every day would no longer be possible as a result of the heavy street restrictions taking effect once the pilot begins June 1st.

Further, Transportation Services plans to eliminate more streets once they exceed the 95 per cent waitlist threshold. Local Community Councils will also have the authority to remove even more streets from the pilot project. The current and expected exclusion of so many streets renders the car2go Toronto Home Area effectively inoperable, and in car2go’s view makes the city’s own free-float pilot totally ineffective from the outset.

Unprecedented permit fees and penalties

Toronto City Council also passed the highest per-car carshare residential parking permit fee of any car2go city in North America, requiring companies participating in the pilot to pay $1,499.02 per vehicle.

Carshare services are also required to immediately move a shared vehicle if up to two carshare vehicles are parked on the same residential permit street at the same time, which does not account for the reality that several Torontonian households on the same street and block may be regular users of free-float carshare vehicles.

From the day we launched car2go in Toronto in 2012, our mission has been to help Torontonians get from point A to point B easily and affordably. It is clear to us that Torontonians love free-float carshare, but the City has not established a legal framework that supports globally accepted carshare services like car2go.

Meanwhile, other cities – including Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary – established free-float carshare policies years ago and have fully embraced free-float carshare because of the numerous economic and quality of life benefits it delivers. In fact, Montreal just expanded free-float carshare access to more boroughs of the city.

Unfortunately, Toronto has chosen a different path.

You can still use car2go in Toronto through May 31st, though you may find fewer vehicles available as we approach that date. As always, your car2go membership still enables you to use car2go in any of our other Canadian and U.S. locations. Thank you so much for your membership, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

We hope that one day, the City of Toronto chooses to establish a legal framework that makes true free-float carshare possible in the same way that dozens of other global cities have.

Paul DeLong
President and CEO, car2go North America