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Calgary exploring carshare options amid car2go departure

Calgary will explore the impact of the car2go departure and hope to meet with officials from the company to see if there’s potential for them to stay.

Last Friday, the carshare company announced it would cease service in Calgary and five other North American cities. It took thousands in the city by surprise, causing concern for Calgary’s transportation department.

In Monday’s combined meeting of council, Coun. Evan Woolley asked what the city is doing to measure the impact of this decision on mobility options for thousands of monthly users.

Doug Morgan, acting general manager of transportation, told council that they’d been in constant dialogue with the local car2go team over the past year. Last week, Woolley said that the local team only found out about the company’s decision on the prior Monday.

“(We’re) always exploring how we can fine tune our model in order to make sure this provides good service for Calgarians,” Morgan said.

Morgan said they were currently working on a survey to determine how much this will impact the travel behaviour of Calgarians.

Making car2go work in Calgary

Woolley, who was set to introduce a matter of urgent business at Monday’s meeting, said that after talking with car2go, city transportation officials and the mayor’s office, pursuing further talks with the carshare company would be best.

Morgan agreed.

“So I think it’s a good idea for us to open the dialogue with car2go, open some discussions and if we have some context, go to the corporate level, look at ways that we could evaluate our relationship, things that they might be looking for to see if we can convince them this is a good market for them to be in and to influence their business decision,” Morgan said, also noting that they’d discuss how carshare fits into the mobility options available in Calgary.

In their letter to members last week, car2go made mention of their ongoing effort to encourage municipal policy that “better supported carshare,” but when asked about specific civic problems, car2go spokeswoman Kendell Kelton said they had baseline criteria for success.

“Those characteristics are as follows: densely populated urban cores, low vehicle ownership rates, a diverse and thriving mobility landscape, robust public transit options and strong city partnerships,” she wrote in an email response.

On social media, many users have postulated that a switch to Mercedes Benz vehicles or the change to user agreements and the home operating area could also be factors in the decision.

 In 2016 the company said Calgary was one of its fastest growing markets. Then in 2019, they said Calgary was at 134,000 members, second only to Vancouver.