Vancouver becomes first Canadian city to use car2go car-share program

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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Daimler North America has recently introduced its car2go car sharing program in Vancouver, British Colombia. Vancouver is the first Canadian city to operate the car2go initiative and comes to the city after a trial run of its services from June 2010 to last March. The strong approval for the service convinced both city staff and car2go that Vancouver was an ideal city for the car sharing program.

"Vancouver is a dynamic, progressive city committed to smart urban living and sustainable transit," said President and CEO of car2go Canada Ltd., Nicholas Cole. "The Mayor and his staff, the City Council and the participants in our trial assessment were central to our planning process. We would not be here without the valuable insights and guidance of these dedicated forward-thinkers. We're confident everyone will find car2go an easy, cost-effective and environmentally responsible way to get around Vancouver."

The car2go program was first launched three years ago in Ulm, Germany. Since then, car2go has been successfully introduced to Hamburg, Germany and also Austin, Texas, which marked the program`s North American debut. It is claimed that over 35,000 customers have used car2go in Ulm and Austin, and car2go says there have been more than 600,000 car rentals so far.

Members of the car2go program can use smartphone applications, the car2go website, or a telephone to find and book the nearest available vehicle. Cars can be reserved up to 24 hours in advance and can also be available to customers "on-demand." Once finished with the cars, members can leave them at any available "permit-only" on-street parking spot. Payment is based on actual usage of the vehicle and car2go says rental periods can be as specific as a per-minute basis.

The car2go program employs a fleet of Smart cars from Mercedes-Benz Canada and its Vancouver Retail Group. The vehicles are outfitted with solar panel roofs as well as an on-board computer with a touch-screen interface featuring controls for the GPS and radio. As of June 2011, 225 Smart "car2go edition" vehicles will be available to Vancouver customers.

"We're very excited that car2go will be making its Canadian debut in Vancouver," said the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson. "Our goal is to become the greenest city in the world by 2020, and providing cleaner transportation options is a big part of that. We want to ensure that we provide a full range of sustainable transportation options for our citizens, and car2go's unique car-sharing model is a great fit for Vancouver."

As big cities try more and more to reduce pollution and waste, and consumers attempt to cut costs in a market of ever-increasing fuel prices and expensive parking space rentals, car share programs like car2go will only become more popular. If it proves successful in Vancouver, the car2go program may reach other large Canadian cities such as Montreal and Toronto.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: smart, ForTwo, car2go,

Geographic location: Vancouver

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