COVID-19: Our preventive measures and special offers

In the present context where physical distancing is required to limit the spread of COVID-19, but where it is still important to maintain transportation services allowing people who must travel be able to do so in the safest way possible, carsharing remains an essential service. Thousands of households in Toronto rely on Communauto for their essential travel.

Therefore, we have decided to continue our activities while putting in place preventive measures and special offers for all members, and especially for those in the health care field.

Our preventive measures

All our employees are working from home, except for our fleet agents who disinfect vehicles and who have no contact with the public and are each equipped with their own exclusive car.

Since vehicles are confined spaces, you are unlikely to come into contact with the virus through coughing or sneezing unless you are accompanied by an infected person. Even though health authorities confirm that transmission of COVID-19 by indirect contact is rare and that survival of the virus on dry surfaces is not well documented, we are focusing on disinfecting our vehicles with a certified virucidal product sprayed on the most used surfaces (door handles, armrests, seatbelt buckle and lock button, interior rear-view mirror, rear-view mirror controls, window controls, front-seat-adjustment controls, fuel hatch and trunk lever (depending on the model), steering wheel, indicator and headlight levers, gear lever, dashboard, and handbrake).

Given the nature of our service, it is impossible to guarantee hygiene between uses. Although vehicles are a relatively safe place, certain precautions are necessary to avoid contracting or transmitting the virus by contact. Hygienic measures allowing cars to be used safely are, however, accessible to everyone.

The best attitude to adopt, under these circumstances, is that of prevention:

  • After using a vehicle, avoid putting your hands to your mouth, nose, or face before washing your hands with warm running water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based disinfectant if you do not have access to soap and water.
  • Do not hesitate to clean the steering wheel, or other surfaces, with disinfecting wipes if you have the supplies to do so. A time credit of up to 15 minutes is offered on FLEX vehicles for this purpose.
  • More than ever, do not leave any waste (tissues, cups, papers, etc.) in vehicles. Be sure to pick up all your belongings before leaving the vehicle.

If you have symptoms of illness, we recommend that you do not use our vehicles. If you must do so, it is extremely important to let us know so that we can block the vehicle and disinfect it.

When a customer reports to us that they have used or want to use a vehicle in these circumstances, the following procedure is applied:

  • The vehicle is blocked for 72 hours.
  • It is then disinfected.

If you have been diagnosed with the virus, you should not, under any circumstances, use a Communauto vehicle. If you must travel in such a case, you must contact the public health department in your region which will take care of the arrangements for your transport.

In such situations, we will be forced to suspend your account.

We are counting on everyone’s collaboration to help us, collectively, get out of this crisis and we encourage you to report, if necessary, any situation and/or inappropriate behaviour.

Our offers

To respond more effectively and more safely to the essential mobility of our users, we have put special offers in place.

However, as scheduled, the offer of $75/week (+ 17¢/km for the first 300 km, 13¢/km for additional kms) is ending May 31. Trips that begin in May and end in June will still be billed at the $75/week rate.

15-minute incentive credit to allow you to clean the vehicle

A 15-minute credit has been introduced for cleaning FLEX vehicles. This means that until June 30, 2020, you only start paying for your trip when you start driving or 15 minutes after accessing the vehicle.

For health care workers

To facilitate travel for health care workers, offers have been put in place and are valid until the end of June, 2020:

If you need occasional access to a vehicle

In this case, we offer the first 30 minutes of your FLEX trips for free. Please allow a minimum period of 45 minutes between the end of one trip and the beginning of the next, for the free period to apply again.

If you need a vehicle for an extended period

No matter what your current plan is, you will have access to the Value Extra plan with no monthly fee. The Value Extra plan provides the most affordable driving rates for essential trips.

  • Waived $500 membership bond for the duration of the offer, if you aren’t already on a Value plan, or for new health care members. (Help us spread the word!)
  • At the end of the offer period, we will return your account to your current rate plan.

INTERESTED?

To access this offer:

  • Current members, please send us your health care ID badge or other form of identification using our contact form, so we can apply the offer.
  • New applicants can use the promo code HEALTHWORKER to access the waived $500 membership bond and are asked to include their health care ID badge/identification with their application. At the end of the offer period, new members can elect to maintain a Value plan membership by paying the $500 membership bond, change to an FLEX/Open plan (no bond required), or close their account.

Rest assured that we are monitoring the situation and the instructions of the authorities closely and are adjusting our actions accordingly.

Prevention and precaution – COVID-19

The progression of the coronavirus (COVID-19) raises questions and concerns. In order to help you protect yourself and your loved ones, we would like to discuss these questions and concerns with you.

(This note was sent to members on March 13, 2020.)

Modes of transmission
    • Coronavirus is spread by air, via aerosols, through close contact with an infected person when that person coughs or sneezes.
    • It can also be spread by hand contact with infected surfaces if you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.
Survival time on wet or dry surfaces
    • COVID-19 can survive up to 6 days on inert objects with wet surfaces.
    • On dry surfaces, we recently said survival time was 3 to 6 hours, but have since updated that information to survival time of a few days (3 to 4 days on plastics).
Preventative measures

Our vehicles are cleaned and washed regularly. Given the nature of our service, it is impossible for us to guarantee its cleanliness between uses. Hygienic measures allowing them to be used safely are, however, within everyone’s reach.

As vehicles are enclosed spaces, you will not be exposed to aerosols unless accompanied by someone. It is therefore a relatively protected space, but certain precautions are necessary to avoid contracting or transmitting the virus by contact.

Since you do not know who used the vehicle before you, the best attitude to adopt under the circumstances is that of prevention:

    • Avoid putting your hands in your mouth, nose, or face after using a vehicle. Wash your hands with warm running water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use an alcohol-based disinfectant if you do not have access to soap and water.

It is recommended that you avoid travel if you are sick. When coughing or sneezing, please cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs around you.

    • More than ever, do not leave any waste (tissues, cups, wrapping paper, etc.) in vehicles; be sure to pick up everything before leaving.
    • Do not hesitate to clean the steering wheel, or other surfaces, with disinfecting wet wipes.

As the situation is changing rapidly, we encourage you to keep yourself informed by regularly consulting the information published by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

City of Toronto takes a step forward for better mobility

Toronto, March 11 – Communauto, the largest carsharing organization in Canada and the first in North America, welcomes the recommendation given by the Infrastructure and Environment Committee of the City of Toronto to make the free-floating carsharing pilot project permanent. The committee adopted the proposal of the General Manager, Transportation Services, which was improved with some slight changes in regulation.

“This is a first and encouraging step towards us further developing free-floating carsharing for Toronto. In the 16 months of the pilot project, we have demonstrated that free-floating carsharing has been accepted in Toronto and that carsharing contributes to reducing the number of cars on the street and the number of parking permits issued. We wait for the final decision from City Council on how we can work together to augment the fleet in order to face the always increasing demand,” said Marco Viviani, Vice-President at Communauto.

Every Communauto car results in up to 4 fewer on-street parking permits

In fact, a recent survey among Communauto members reveals that after only one year, 20% of users who live in residential parking permit zones will not renew their parking permits (9%) or will avoid purchasing a parking permit (11%), thanks to Communauto. This means that for each Communauto FLEX car, almost 4 people will not renew or will avoid purchasing a resident parking permit.

Fleet to be increased by 50% if the city confirms decision

Communauto is committed to growing this service in Toronto and looks forward to continuing to work with the City of Toronto when and if this pilot program is made permanent. 100 cars are planned to be added to the fleet this spring if the program is confirmed.

Communauto free-floating service in Toronto currently operates 200 cars, available to pick up and drop off in an area of around 50 sq km between High Park and Runnymede in the west, Dupont and Mortimer in the north, and Victoria Park in the east. The area excludes downtown metered spaces and zones where 100% of parking permits have been sold. Cars are used for both short-term and long-term trips (on average, around six hours per trip per 40 km), and as a replacement and alternative to personal car ownership.

About Communauto

Founded in Québec City in 1994, Communauto is the largest carsharing service in Canada and the oldest in North America. Present on two continents in 14 cities (Edmonton, Toronto, Kitchener/Waterloo, Hamilton, Guelph, London, Kingston, Ottawa, Gatineau, the regions of Montréal and Québec, Sherbrooke, Halifax and Paris in France) with a fleet of 3,000 vehicles, it is one of the few operators offering both free-floating and station-based carsharing. Communauto is a private company whose main mission is to reduce the impact of cars on cities while improving access to mobility. Communauto establishes strong partnerships with public transit authorities and offers the largest electric carsharing fleet in Canada, in selected cities.

We’re on the Transit app

We’re excited to announce that you’ll be seeing FLEX more often, on your daily commute—on your Transit app!

We’ve partnered with the Transit app to give you easy access to FLEX cars—you can unlock and pay for the ride right from the app.

You can plan your trip using their new multimodal system which gives you faster commute times by offering you trips that include the use of scooters, bikesharing, carsharing, and public transportation. Now you can get to where you’re going easier and faster.

We’re proud to be a part of this multimodal movement by partnering with an app that offers alternatives to personal car ownership and gives FLEXible mobility options for all.

And we’re proud to be one of the many diverse transit options in Toronto.

Enjoy the gift of FLEX with these relocation credits

This spring we’re launching “FLEX gifts.” You’ll now notice gift icons in the Communauto FLEX app. These FLEX gifts give you 30-minute credits when you block and use cars associated with it. You’ll help optimize the distribution of FLEX vehicles within the service area AND save money!

How does it work?

  1. Block a car displaying the FLEX gift pictogram.
  2. Use it to get to where you’re going. Release it in the service area identified on the map.
  3. The credit will automatically be applied on your trip (see conditions) and will be recorded in your reservation’s history.

Conditions

The relocation credit constitutes a postponement of the first 30 billable minutes of a trip. Therefore, you are still eligible for all of the other credits usually offered when using FLEX: blocking the vehicle for up to 30 minutes so you can get to it, 20 minutes credit for purchasing gas.

The credit is only granted if vehicle identified by the gift pictogram is selected and under the condition that the trip ends in the service zone.

The relocation credit cannot be combined with the (extended) launch offer of the “first 30 minutes free,” which new FLEX members are usually entitled. Either one or the other applies to the same trip.

Enjoy our free valet service at the Toronto Fringe Festival

The Toronto Fringe Festival has a new east end theatre location and a new exclusive car share sponsor … FLEX!

As Fringe’s exclusive car share sponsor, we’ll be providing free valet service at Postscript, the patio at the Toronto Fringe Festival, on both Saturdays of the festival from 6pm-11pm.

Drive from their new east end location at Streetcar Crowsnet ((345 Carlaw Avenue) or any other Fringe theatre to the Postcript patio, hop out, start your patio fun right away! We’ll park the FLEX car for you. No need to find parking!

The 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival runs July 3-14, 2019. Full programming was announced on May 27, 2019.

We’d like to send a big thank you from FLEX to Fringe for providing affordable access to amazing theatre productions and for keeping their indie, grassroots spirit alive.

We at Communauto FLEX similarly strive to provide affordable access to mobility services, and we hope that FLEX can grow with the Toronto communities, just as Fringe has done for the past 30 years. Fringe is truly a theatre for the people, by the people, and we’re proud to be a part of the coming festivities!

1 in 5 Torontonians would consider replacing their vehicle with a carsharing service!

Toronto’s first free-floating carsharing service, Communauto FLEX, reaches 30 000 usages in first three months

TORONTO, March 5, 2019 – Toronto’s appetite for alternative mobility is growing. A new report from Communauto, Canada’s longest-running carsharing company and the new free-floating carsharing service in Toronto, found that 1 in 5 Torontonians (20 per cent) would consider getting rid of their household vehicle and using a carsharing service as a replacement. Of that 20 per cent, Millennials were most likely to make the switch, with 1 in 4 (25 per cent) claiming they would reconsider household vehicles for the right carsharing alternative; 16 per cent of Gen Xers and 15 per cent of Baby Boomers said the same.

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“Currently, 87 per cent of Torontonians own a vehicle. As technology evolves and Toronto becomes a smarter and more mobility-driven city, it’s clear that there’s a desire for new ways of moving around”, said Marco Viviani, Communauto Vice President. “Carsharing complements transit and active transportation to provide affordable, flexible and eco-friendly mobility, reducing congestion and pollution. That’s why we’re thrilled to be working with the City of Toronto as the first participants in its new carsharing pilot project. This report confirms what we observed on the field, the rapid adoption of the service by Torontonians that led us to enlarge the service area after just 3 months.”

The report went on to find that 12 per cent of Toronto’s drivers have tried carsharing, and that nearly half of the city’s population (49 per cent) are open to using such a service. Of the demographics surveyed, Millennials were most receptive, with 67 per cent open to the idea of trying a free-floating carsharing service. They were also the demographic most familiar with carsharing—22 per cent of 18-34-year-olds said they’ve used a carsharing service in the past, compared to 10 per cent of Gen Xers and just 4 per cent of Baby Boomers.

“Communauto has been an excellent resource for my fiancé and I,” said Andrew, a 24-year-old resident of downtown Toronto. “Living in the city is expensive, and owning a car is a big, expensive responsibility. Between summer cycling and public transit, we find ourselves only requiring a vehicle occasionally, for transporting purchases and getting out of the city. Communauto fills these needs perfectly. One way trips are convenient, and daily rates are reasonable for weekend trips. Also, the cars are all well equipped, and drive smoothly. It’s an easy, low hassle alternative to owning or renting.”

In just three months the results are impressive: more than 30,000 trips by more than 2,000 users. The average trip is 20 km and more than three hours in duration, with 5 per cent of weekend trips lasting more than 24 hours. Some of the most popular long-distance destinations are Muskoka and Prince Edward County and the most popular carsharing neighbourhoods are Parkdale, Little Italy, Riverdale, and Little India. Customers use the service to complete tasks like groceries, business meetings, shopping at IKEA, visiting friends, and going out of the city.

Free-Floating Zone

Communauto FLEX launched in Toronto with 200 Hyundai Accent hatchbacks in November 2018, servicing an area of close to 50 square kilometres in the downtown core. The free-floating parking zone spans to High Park and Runnymede in the west, Dupont and Mortimer in the north, and Victoria Park in the east.

How it works

Communauto FLEX offers Torontonians 24/7 access to one-way carsharing and a simple way to improve their mobility inside and outside the city. Registered users can locate and reserve cars using the Communauto FLEX mobile app, and doors can be unlocked and locked using a smartphone.

Communauto FLEX has no monthly fees and is free to join, using a pay-as-you-go structure. Daily trips begin at $0.41/minute, $15/hour, $50 the first day, and $35 for any extra days, fuel price included. The first 150 km is included in the price of each trip, and for a limited time, registered users will receive the first 30 minutes of each trip free. Torontonians can book Communauto FLEX cars, which are parked in residential on-street parking spaces within the 50 kilometre square service area, and drive anywhere they want to go in between, dropping the car off in any legal parking space at the end of the trip. Metered parking spaces and Green P lots are for the moment excluded from the service area.

To register for Communauto FLEX, please visit: https://toronto.communauto.com/join

More information on Toronto’s Free-Floating Car-Share pilot project is available at http://bit.ly/FFCarSharePilot2018

About Communauto

Founded in Quebec City in 1994, Communauto is the longest-running car-sharing service in North America and the one serving the largest number of communities in Canada. With a fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles, the company serves 13 cities each one with a local approach. Among these are Edmonton, Waterloo Region, Hamilton, London, Guelph, Kingston, Ottawa, Gatineau, Montréal/Laval/ Longueuil, Quebec City/Lévis, Sherbrooke, Halifax and Paris in France. Communauto group operates gas, hybrids and electric cars and offers both round-trip and free-floating carsharing.