News / Toronto

Car2Go Toronto rolling out on-street parking despite City Hall rejection

With latest request denied by the city, the car-sharing company is moving ahead with on-street parking plans.

Currently, 137 people are on permit parking waiting lists, for 36 different residential streets, according to city staff.

Liz Beddall / Metro

Currently, 137 people are on permit parking waiting lists, for 36 different residential streets, according to city staff.

A car-sharing company will soon allow members to drop cars in Toronto’s residential neighbourhoods — even though it goes against the wishes of city hall.

Car2Go has been asking the city for permission to access residential parking in permit areas for years and even offered to pay for space.

With its latest request denied, the company is planning to move ahead anyway. Effective March 31, Car2Go’s will be able to leave vehicles on all streets except in metered parking spaces and those otherwise restricted by the city — such as near a fire hydrant or in a school zone.

Right now, Car2Go’s 46,000 users have to pick up and leave vehicles in Green P lots and few other designated spots around the city. Street parking has been allotted in every other city where the company operates, including Calgary, Vancouver (home to the company's largest fleet) and Montreal.

“It’s the way car2go was always meant to be, and we’re confident that’s how carsharing works best,” spokesman Brad Ducey told Metro in advance of Tuesday’s planned announcement. “We’re thrilled to finally bring the same Car2Go experience to Toronto that members around the world already enjoy.”

City councillors on the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee voted down Car2Go’s last request for a residential parking pilot project in November, saying it would take away too many spots from people who have bought a permit or are on the wait list to get one.

By leaving cars on residential streets without permits, Car2Go risks getting tickets for breaking a city bylaw that bans on-street parking for more than three hours at a time. It’s a risk the company’s willing to take.

“As long as a member abides by our parking rules, they will not be responsible for any parking tickets – we’ll take care of that,” Ducey said.

Coun. Stephen Holyday, who sits on the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, said he’s not happy that the company is willing to flout the city’s three-hour bylaw, or take up spaces residents have paid for with parking permits.

“The bylaw is in place to help the citizens who live there so they can park their car and their guests can park their cars,” he said.

However, car2go argues that in the long run, car2go will actually ease Toronto’s parking problems as customers give up their personal cars in favour of shared ones — because they’re small and spend less time parked than privately owned cars.

“The majority of car2go vehicles remain in constant motion, being driven around the city by our 46,000-strong Toronto member base rather than taking up valuable parking spaces,” said Ducey.

Car2Go’s plan adds the company to a growing list of sharing-economy firms willing to bend or break the law in cities where local governments don’t quickly embrace the changes they bring.

Sunil Johal, policy director at the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre, said it’s something people can expect to see happen more and more.

“Many companies are seeing how Uber has managed to set-up its operations outside of a regulatory framework and they’re pursuing the same approach,” said Johal, who studies the sharing economy. “We’re likely to see more and more companies act like Car2Go. The question is how quickly the city will be able to provide a flexible regulatory framework that meets the needs of today’s citizens, not the citizens of 1980.”


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