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Carsharing Basics

  • What is carsharing?

    Carsharing is an affordable and convenient alternative to owning a car. Members have self-serve access to a network of cars available on-demand, 24/7, from locations right in their own neighbourhoods. With cars available for both shorter and longer rentals, carsharing provides the flexibility of owning a car without the costs and commitments of owning one.

    Trips are typically billed based on the time and number of kilometers traveled. Members can choose from a variety of rate plans to find an option that best suits their transportation needs.

  • What is Communauto?

    Communauto is a company driven by social, urban, and environmental values. The mission of our carsharing service is to reduce the overall number of cars on the road, as well as the issues that come from them.

    Communauto is a pioneering company in the carsharing industry. We are the longest-running carsharing service in North America. The thousands of cars in the Communauto fleet are shared by members in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia. We also operate in France.

    The name Communauto comes from French for “community” and “car”.

  • Is Communauto a not-for-profit organization?

    Communauto is not officially a not-for-profit organization. It is a corporation registered under the name Communauto Inc. That said, we are a mission-driven company that provides a service with social, urban, and environmental goals rather than aiming strictly for profit. 

    We strive to strike a balance that allows us to remain profitable, so we can continue to grow our service without being dependent on other sources such as government funding. The last thing we want is for carsharing to become another way of subsidizing the automobile. There are many other places in our communities where government funding could be better spent.

  • What is the difference between FLEX and Round-trip vehicles?

    Communauto members have access to two kinds of carsharing: one-way FLEX cars available on-demand, and round-trip cars available by reservation.

    Please note: Not all Communauto locations offer both FLEX and round-trip services. Please see information about your location to learn what’s available in your city.

    Round-trip vehicles available by reservation

    This station-based option is considered the “traditional” Communauto service, and it’s the only one available in all our locations.

    With this option, you must return the car to its station at the end of the trip. Here are the basics:

    • Pick up the car at the station you selected and return it at the end of the reserved time (being careful not to be late so you don’t inconvenience the next user).
    • Round-trip vehicles can be booked up to a month in advance.

    The round-trip option is ideal for planned trips or when you need to make sure you have access to a vehicle at a specific time and place. 

    One-way FLEX without reservation

    This free-floating option lets you move from point A to B: to pick up a car in one place and release it in another part of the service area outlined in the Communauto app. Once you’ve reached your destination:

    • Release the car within the FLEX zone to minimize the cost of your trip.
    • And as a bonus, enjoy parking perks within the service area, such as parking in permit-only residential areas.

    This option is an ideal solution for spontaneous trips or when you plan to return using another transportation mode. Traveling around the city is more flexible than ever!

  • What is included in membership and trip costs?

    Communauto members can drive with peace of mind knowing that many of the costs of car ownership are included in their membership fees, where applicable, and in the cost of a trip.

    Gas: There’s no need to worry about fuel prices because gas is included in the cost of your trip. If you need to fuel up, simply use the gas card provided in each car. If you choose to pay for gas yourself, you’ll be reimbursed for the expense.

    Maintenance: All our cars are regularly serviced and seasonally equipped with winter tires, saving you time and money.

    Insurance: By default, you are only charged $1.10 per trip in Canada or €1.75 in France in exchange for full coverage. This limits your risk in the event of an accident to a damage fee of $600 in Canada or €600 in France. Other damage protection plans are also available to reduce the cost of a potential damage fee. See our Damage Protection Plan options to learn more.

    Parking: Members have access to a range of off-street and on-street parking perks, often better than what’s available to private car owners. See details of the parking options available in your city.

  • What are my responsibilities as a Communauto member?

    The key to carsharing is that each member returns the car on time, at the right location, and ready for the next member to use. Please remember to:

    • Avoid delays in returning the car to its station if you booked a round-trip vehicle.
    • Respect the parking rules of your location, especially when releasing a FLEX car.
    • Make sure the car is appropriately clean at the end of the trip and remove any belongings.
    • End your trip correctly, making sure the doors are locked before leaving.
    • Inform us right away if you encounter a problem and report any damage that occurred during your trip.

    As a courtesy to other users, we ask that you return vehicles with the gas tank at least a quarter full. A gas card is provided to you if you need to fill up. If using a fully electric vehicle, please consult the specific rules for these vehicles.

Updated on July 14, 2023

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