Car-sharing company leaves Calgary in its rear-view; is Vancouver next?
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
A popular car-sharing service will be driving away from a major Canadian city on Halloween.
Car2Go, in an email to their subscribers on September 27, announced that they would be leaving Calgary on October 31.
Citing lack of supportive city policy, an economic downturn, and increased competition in the marketplace, the free-floating car-sharing service decided to cease operations within Canada’s fourth-most populous city.
Car2Go started in Calgary in 2012, and assembled a fleet of approximately 600 cars to serve the Calgary metro area. The company’s initial foray into Calgary introduced their popular Smart fortwo cars to the market, and later the service contracted the Calgary “home area” where users could rent and leave cars. They then introduced Mercedes-Benz vehicles to their fleet in an effort to appease members.
According to their website, Car2Go, which is owned by German automotive company Daimler AG, has one million North American users in 10 North American cities, but will cease operations in four of those cities—Austin, Calgary, Denver, and Portland—this year.
With retraction in 40 percent of their North American market, what does the future hold for the service in Vancouver?
The Other Press contacted Car2Go to inquire about the stability of operations in Vancouver, and the possibility of expansion into New Westminster and Coquitlam, since cars from another jurisdiction have become available.
“There are no current plans on leaving the Vancouver market and we are committed to future growth in the market,” said Tiffany Young, North American Communication Coordinator for Car2Go | SHARE NOW, in an email statement.
Currently, Car2Go services Vancouver with a fleet of 1,200 cars in a smaller geographic area than Calgary. According to the service, their 200,000 Vancouver members have made more than 13 million trips since the 2011 launch. The service is popular with drivers under 30, but due to the per-minute billing and convenience, unfortunately, Car2Go vehicles cannot be parked at either New Westminster or Coquitlam Douglas campuses.
Young stated that “There are no current plans to adjust our operation area in Vancouver.” Meaning that Douglas students will have to wait for the day that Car2Go vehicles can be parked east of Boundary road.
The greater Vancouver car-sharing market is grid-locked with Evo Car Share, Modo Co-operative, and ZipCar Incorporated—all are racing Car2Go for drivers’ dollars in the city. Also, with Uber and Lyft racing to service Metro Vancouver there will be more options to commute to class than ever before.