It's a shame that Car2Go left the city. The service was widely popular, and particularly benefited areas like East York and Riverdale, where we are fortunate to have multiple subway stations and other transit, limiting the need for vehicle ownership.
I was a Car2Go user myself, and loved the convenience of having a car in a lot nearby that I only had to pay for the few minutes a year I needed it. Compared to owning a car, I saved $1000's a year. This is the same for many people in this neighbourhood. Services like Car2Go also reduce the effects of climate change, as there are fewer cars being manufactured, driven and taking up space, and those cars are small, burn less fuel and are only used when really needed.
Given that I'm running for City Council to help people have a quality of life that is both more affordable and environmentally friendly, I think Car2GO and similar services are a necessary attribute to our neighbourhood.
I'd like to see more of these services in Toronto.
Unfortunately, Car2G0 wasn't willing to comply with new regulations in Toronto, which limited the ability for users to park more or less anywhere on residential streets. They also had millions of dollars of unpaid fines, which is unacceptable. On the other hand, City Council tried to limit the number of parking spaces in residential streets that could be used for cars, but they went overboard. It was too restrictive and made the free floating car model difficult to work effectively.
We need to find the right balance between residents' parking needs and their need of innovative services like Car2Go. We also need to acknowledge that car rental services - whether it's Uber, Car2G0 or longer-term leasing, is the future of vehicles. People will be less and less likely to own, and more likely to rent and share, particularly in urban environments like ours.
On City Council, I will work to:
- loosen restrictions to have more spaces available for Car2Go-style services, so we have the benefit of a free floating car rental model
- increase that number of available spaces over time as the services become more popular and people need fewer of their own parking spaces
- remove exemptions where councillors can veto these parking spots in their ward - councillors shouldn't recieve, or be able to give, special favours while imposing the rules on everyone else
- force companies like Car2Go to follow the rules, make sure they pay fines for breaking the rules, and have their business license suspended for not paying fines - play by the rules or take your business elsewhere
- lower the cost of those spaces a little bit from the current $1500, but then have them either rise over time or auctioned off to competing services
- get innovative about building apartments and other structure in laneways, which would enable the building of more parking spaces that could be used by residents, freeing up spaces on the streets
- raise the prices of long-term parking permits - given the value of limited real estate in our city, $1.80 is not collecting the value of that taxpayer-owned land
- consider exemptions for overnight parking of these sharing services in areas where it is restricted
- consider different uses of residential parking spaces during the day and overnight
There are other companies, such as Communauto, a Canadian service looking to come to Toronto, that may be more willing to work with, rather than fight with, City Council. I welcome the competition, innovation and the long term benefits of sharing and renting. We can do this while respecting the needs of residents that do not have garages. There is a balance and it can be achieved.