Share Now's Car2Go platform recently shut down operations in both Vancouver and Montreal which were the final two cities in Canada the platform was operating in.
The departure was an unsurprising yet huge blow to Canada’s car-sharing industry, with 1,500 of their cars being pulled from Vancouver and over 500 from Montreal.
After leaving Toronto in 2018 and Calgary in October 2019, what remains is a handful of smaller car-sharing services scattered across Canada that are unable to satisfy the mobility needs of the country.
With their exit, it’s time we start looking at new models to meet the demands of our cities and citizens.
SHARE NOW’s departure is just the latest story of carsharing companies using the same model to see their businesses suffer. There exist fundamental limitations in the way these fleet-based car-share services operate that make it extremely difficult to grow and thrive.
They require significant upfront investments to acquire, maintain, and park their vehicles across a city. With insurance rates soaring and limited premium parking to spare in Canada’s urban centres, the economics make less and less sense.
Despite the fleet model’s decline, car-sharing is still a key piece in the future of urban mobility, and municipalities are taking notice. Vancouver City Hall has expressed concern that SHARE NOW’s exit will increase private car ownership in the city and are looking at policy changes to make carsharing businesses easier to operate. These include decreasing parking prices for those cars at metered spaces. Calgary also introduced rules improving parking access for car-sharing companies.
While it’s promising that cities are recognizing the important role that car-sharing plays in the future of mobility, we need to look for alternate solutions beyond encouraging more fleet-based services onto our streets.
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