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.

5 reasons to make Communauto your Valentine

Remember you must release the Communauto in on-street, permit-only spaces.

It’s that time of year: the sun is out on a crisp February day and love is in the air. It’s the 14th of February and a Friday to boot! You walk out into the street and watch the sun glint off the hood of a beautiful Hyundai Accentit’s green C lulling you forward. It’s love at first sight. Instinctively, you pull out your smartphone and access the Communauto app. You’re reminded of why you fell in love in the first place. Communauto, your true carsharing love. If you haven’t already, here are five reasons why you should make Communauto your Valentine.

1. Heated seats

All Communauto cars have seat warmers for both the driver and the passenger. An easy way to stay toasty before things really start heating up this Valentine’s Day.

2. Blue tooth audio

The days of the mixtape may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t curate the perfect playlist to show your loved one how you feel—whether that’s a little Céline Dion or a little Barry White. You can connect your smartphone to all Communauto vehicles to put your date in the Valentine’s Day mood by the time you arrive at your destination.

3. City parking permits

Isn’t it romantic picking up your date at the door and whisking them away? But it’s also lovely to be able to enjoy a beverage, or two, with them, without having to worry about driving home! With city parking permits on each car, leave the Communauto in on-street, permit-only parking spots within the Communauto zones. You won’t have to worry about coming back for the car after enjoying a night out with your Valentine. And no need to worry about the car the morning after.

4. The fleet is well maintained

Picture this: you’re all dressed up, your date looks amazing, you have reservations at their favourite restaurant, but as you head to the car you realize … A FLAT TIRE! Or no windshield fluid, or squeaky brakes! Avoid frustrating and embarrassing situations this Vday … take the Communauto.

5. There’s at least 1/4 tank of fuel

Can you think of a less romantic spot than a gas station? While we’re sure the selection of treats inside is top notch … we’re  guessing your date would rather prefer to be ON the date already! Communautos are filled with at least a 1/4 of tank of gas, which should be enough to get you to those reservations!

7 apps and websites to help you live sustainably in 2020

We’ve entered the roaring twenties and with every new year comes the inevitable new year’s resolutions. Many of us are trying to live a little more sustainably in 2020. It seems that by the end of January, the excitement and energy from the beginning of the month has begun to wane and so has our resolve to maintain and sustain our resolutions. Here are just a few options that will help you stay on the right track and make this decade the most sustainable one yet.

1. TO Waste: Not sure if you should be putting that clay kitty litter in the green bin or the garbage? What about plastic take-out containers? Garbage or green bin? The Christmas tree you hauled from Jeff the Christmas Tree Guy? Download the TOWaste app to find out.

2. Communauto FLEX: North America’s longest running carsharing company is here in Toronto. Sign up for a free membership and have access to one-way carsharing through our app. Did you know that 1.5 tonnes of C02 emissions are reduced from the atmosphere for each carsharing vehicle? And that for each carsharing member, 11 personal cars are removed from the streets? Communauto FLEXit’s sustainable and FLEXible (sorry, we had to).

3. Zero Waste Home: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (and in that order). Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home, also has a website that helps individuals and families cut down on their waste and has inspired a global movement to live waste-free. Added bonus is the Zero Bulk Finder, a useful tool to locate package-free stores in your neighbourhood when you’re out shopping.

4. Bike Share Toronto: Unlock, ride, return. The best way to get to know a city and to reduce your carbon footprint is by walking or cycling. Whether you’re commuting, running errands or sightseeing, Bike Share Toronto is a fun, flexible and cost-effective way to navigate the city. Buy a pass or become a member to access 5,000 bikes and 465 stations across 100 square kilometres of the city. That’s a lot of beautiful cityscape to explore! Use the CycleFinder app to find bikes nearest you.

5. Live GreenTO: Live, work or play in Toronto? Live Green Perks is the best way to support local businesses and choose a greener lifestyle. And, as a City of Toronto program, it’s free to join! Check out the Live Green Toronto website and app for grants, incentives, and resources that help Torontonians save money while living a greener lifestyle #TransformTO

6. Transit: Looking to get from Chinatown to North York on a Monday at 8:30 am … Plan your trip using Transit’s multimodal system which gives you faster commute times by offering trips that include the use of scooters, bikesharing, carsharing, ride hailing and public transportation—all while reducing your ecological footprint. Now you can get to where you’re going faster, easier, and more sustainably.

7. Better Homes TO: Did you know that homes and buildings produce more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions in Toronto today? BetterHomesTO is a one-stop for Toronto residents to help them make their homes more energy efficient and climate friendly. You’ll learn how, why, and when to get an EnerGuide home evaluation, what home improvements you can make, how to transform your home into a net zero environment, and which programs, incentives, and rebates will help you get started in making a better home for you, your family, and the environment.

A Very Communauto Christmas: Tips and Tricks for “Navigating” the Holidays

The holidays can be such a wonderful time of year, magic and wonder and … WONDERING how you’ll possibly get everything done. It’s a very busy time! We know how overwhelming it can feel trying to fit in all the decorating, shopping, parties, and—of course—family time. Here are our top tips for how to best use your Communauto to keep the stress out and keep the magic in—this holiday season.

The tree

Although strange sights are an expected part of your TTC ride, lugging your Christmas tree onboard may not be the most convenient or well-received option. Here are three great places where you can take your Communauto to pick up the perfect tree:

  1. St. Lawrence Market is steeped in Toronto tradition and history, which includes Christmas trees! Jeff the Christmas Tree Guy has been selling trees at the market for more than 25 years! While you’re there, you can also wander throughout the market and get all your shopping for Christmas dinner done as well. Jeff is open until December 24, 2019, for any of you last-minute decorators and it’s located at Front and Jarvis where there’s a fair bit of Communauto parking nearby.
  2. Evergreen Garden Market has trees from 2.5 – 14ft tall so you’re sure to find your perfect fit. This little garden market is located right at Evergreen Brick Works, where there is also the cutest little outdoor, but covered skating trail, a café, and all the makings of a winter wonderland. Tucked right in the Don Valley, this stop is a beautiful choice.
  3. Pinedale Farms is the perfect option for the authentic cut-your-own experience. They have various types and sizes for you to find the tree of your Christmas vision. They also offer a tree-bagging service to protect your tree for the ride home on top of your Communauto. Located just outside of Hamilton, this spot is an easy drive and a short day trip.

The gifts

We know that the holidays are not about gifts, but if you’re like us … giving just feels oh so good! There’s a joy that comes with seeing someone’s face light up when they unwrap the perfect gift. Shopping during the holidays can be stressful: the malls are crowded, the parking lots are packed, the bills add up, and hauling all your purchases home is a struggle. Here are our top suggestions for some quick Communauto shopping trips:

  1. Fair in the Square, happening December 7-23, 2019, at Nathan Phillips Square, has it all! Skating, hot beverages, sweets and other eats, and a host of quaint artisans and vendors to get all of your holiday shopping done! Who wants to brave the mall this time of year when you can shop in the festive and romantic ambiance of this holiday market? Take your haul home with a Communauto!
  2. The Trinity Bellwoods Flea Market moves indoors for the Happy Holidays Market on December 15, 2019. This is a truly Toronto shopping experience hosted in the historic Great Hall and packed with more that 100 local makers, artisans, crafters, and merchants! You are sure to find something unique and Communauto is the most reliable way to get all those treasures home safely.
  3. Withrow’s Winter Market is a perfect shopping stop for anyone with last-minute items to cross off their holiday list since the market is open on December 21, 2019, at the Crow’s Theatre. Stocked with local goods and treats, this is another great way to support local this holiday season! This market is not only convenient for East-enders but it is located right in the middle of a Communauto zone! Whether you want to drive there and shop, or shop and drive home, be reassured that there’s convenient parking nearby. *Hot tip: drive just one block south and wander the incredible indie shops on Queen Street East for final stocking stuffers … all still in the Communauto zone!

The lights

Nothing says holiday magic like the twinkle of lights. But not everyone can pull off the Christmas-Vacation-Griswold-level light display, taking a Communauto to tour some of Toronto’s best light displays is an excellent alternative! Here are some of our favourite spots to see the holiday lights:

  1. Eastern Beaches will be lit up with more than 20,000 ft of string lights—that’s 80,000 individual LED lights! This is a great way to enjoy the beach and boardwalk even in the colder months and the lights are a magical way to experience one of Toronto’s most iconic locations, the Leuty Lifeguard post. Importantly, the beaches are well within a Communauto parking zone.
  2. Casa Loma is already a magical place, but with a holiday makeover, it really is spectacular. After a walk through the grounds basking in the light show, the heated seats of the Communauto are a welcome treat for the ride home.
  3. Toronto Christmas Market is, of course, a must! Here the light display and the fully decorated Christmas tree will put a twinkle in anyone’s eye. There are plenty of options for warm treats, hot chocolate, and mulled wine (which is only available during the Toronto Christmas Market until December 22—get it while it’s mulled). Parking at the Christmas Market can be more than tricky. *Hot tip: By taking a Communauto, the parking permit will allow you park on the streets south of Front, between Parliament and Jarvis!

Family and friends

Well, this one we can’t stress enough! Take a Communauto out of the city, overnight, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the holidays!

10 best (and closest) pumpkin patches to explore in the GTA and beyond

Toronto, it’s that time of year and it’s not too late to trek to the pumpkin patch to get your autumn haul of non-ugly pumpkins, or maybe plan for a trip next fall. We know baby pumpkins are the best for pumpkin pies and you’ll be able to find that at your local grocer, but for the best Jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, head to any of these 10 pumpkin patches.

We’ve ordered the list of 10 by proximity to Toronto’s downtown core. Remember that 150 km is included per trip (and $0.25 per additional kilometer).

1. Reesor’s Farm Market, 0.75 hours, 44 km
2. Albion Orchards, 1 hour, 56-62 km
3. Springridge Farm, 1 hour, 62-66 km
4. Hutchinson Farm, 1 hour, 63-69 km
5. Andrew’s Scenic Acres,  1.25 hours, 65 km
6. Downey’s Farm Market, 1 hour, 66 km
7. Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze, 1 hour, 70-82 km
8. Forsythe Family Farms, 1.25 hours, 80-85 km
9. Brooks Farms, 1-1.25 hours, 68-101 km
10. Pingle’s Farm Market, 1-1.25 hours, 77-110 km

For more information about each pumpkin patch, see below:

1. Reesor’s Farm Market
10825 Ninth Line, Markham, ON L6B 1A8
+1 905-640-4568
reesors.ca
Rating: 4.4

Pick your own pumpkins and check out Reesor’s corn maze. There are lots of ready-picked pumpkins in the farm market and town market. Also, apples, squash, carrots, lettuce,  oh my. You’ll love their cookies and fruit pies, too.

2. Albion Orchards
14800 Innis Lake Rd, Caledon East, ON L7C 2Y8
+1 905-584-0354
www.albionorchards.com
Rating: 3.9

Looking for more than a perfect pumpkin? Come experience farm-fresh produce and explore the bountiful apple orchards. Albion Orchards doesn’t charge for admission, only for apple picking. The pumpkin patch is open until Halloween, but come back to pick your next Christmas tree.

3. Springridge Farm
7256 Bell School Line, Milton, ON L9E 0N7
+1 905-878-4908
www.springridgefarm.com
Rating: 4.5

There are plenty of pumpkins to choose from:  Jack-O-Lantern, Cinderella, Ghost, and Knucklehead. But Springridge Farm also grows strawberries, gourds, and harvest honey from 1 million bees that live in hives beside their pond.

4. Hutchinson Farm
6202 Walkers Line, Burlington, ON L7M 0R3
+1 905-335-2515
www.hutchinsonfarm.ca
Rating: 4.6

Shhhh! Hutchinson Farm’s Great Pumpkin Art Silent Auction is a mainstay at the farm.  They have some talented graffiti artists on staff who’ve painted some amazing pumpkins this year. The farm is known for their exotic pumpkin varieties and heirloom garlic.

5. . Andrew’s Scenic Acres
9365 10 Side Rd, Milton, ON L9T 2X9
+1 905-878-5807
www.andrewsfarm.ca
Rating: 3.4

PWYC Pumpkins! Pay-what-you-can pumpkins are a hit at Andrew’s Scenic Acres. Get your Halloween pumpkins and propose your own price. And there’s free admission for the last weekend of October.

6. Downey’s Farm Market
13682 Heart Lake Rd, Inglewood, ON L7C 2J5
+1 905-838-2990
www.downeysfarm.com
Rating: 4.3

Downey’s Pumpkinfest opens daily from the end of September until October 31st from 10am – 5pm. Last admission at 4pm. There are wagon rides, farm animals, live entertainment, and an eight-acre corn maze!

7. Cooper’s CSA Farm & Maze
266 Ashworth Rd, Zephyr, ON L0E 1T0
+1 905-830-4521
www.coopersfarm.ca
Rating: 4.4

Cooper’s Farm and 10-acre corn maze runs until the end of October but they’re open on select Saturdays between November and May. They pride themselves in farming through natural and sustainable practices and ethically raised cattle.

8. Forsythe Family Farms
1025 Cragg Rd, Uxbridge, ON L9P 1R3
+1 905-887-1087
www.forsythefamilyfarms.com
Rating: 4.5

Take a walk through this family farm’s Sunflower Trail. The sunflowers have grown 8-12 feet tall and are at their peak bloom mid-September. Nothing says fall like a corn maze, which is open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm. Fresh picked apples are available in their market with over five varieties as the season progresses.

9. Brooks Farms
122 Ashworth Rd, Mount Albert, ON L0G 1M0
+1 905-473-3246
www.brooksfarms.com
Rating: 4.4

For over a decade, Brooks Farms has hosted an awesome Fall Fun Festival that gets bigger and better every year: pumpkin cannon show, train rides, zip lines, bouncing ponies, playhouses, and slides. The last weekend of October is their infamous pumpkin smash!

10. Pingle’s Farm Market
1805 Taunton Rd, Hampton, ON L0B 1J0
+1 905-725-6089
www.pinglesfarmmarket.com
Rating: 4.0

Pingle’s Farm Market is celebrating 32 years of farm fun. Pick your own pumpkins and apples, have a wander through their corn maze, pet some farm animals, check out the pedal carts, giant slide, trike track, mini putt, pumpkin cannon show, giant sand pile, jump pad, and straw jump.

Did you know you can book a FLEX car through the Transit app?

Make your daily commute a bit easier by booking a FLEX car when you need it, using your Transit app.

Follow these 5 steps to make your first multimodal commute with carsharing, bikesharing, and public transportation.

Step 1: Open the Transit app and click on settings.

Step 2: Click on Communauto FLEX “sign in.”

Step 3: Enter your Communauto FLEX membership number or email and your password.

Your FLEX account is now connected to the Transit app!

Step 4: Search for a FLEX car near you.

Step 5: Reserve/book a car and you’re good to go!

Happy carsharing and we hope you get to where you’re going with Transit’s multimodal options!

4 places to visit this autumn to escape the city

Muskoka – 2.5 hours away

Photo credit: Discover Muskoka

Let the city fall away … (see what we did there) … and book a fall getaway to Muskoka for a romantic vacation in a naturally beautiful setting, or take the whole family for an autumn vacation at one of the many lakeside resorts.

Prince Edward County – 2.75-3 hours away

Photo credit: The Regent Theatre

Prince Edward County is known for its quaint inns, chalets, and wine tours. Get out of the city and escape to the Sandbanks Provincial Park and its towering limestone cliffs. Have a night at the Regent Theatre, a restored Edwardian opera house. Walk through Macaulay Heritage Park to take a gander at their local history through its 19th-century buildings.

Peterborough and the Kawarthas – 2 hours away

Check out Peterborough and the Kawarthas’ independent craft breweries, cideries, distillers, Feast On restaurants, and farmers’ markets. Watch the leaves change on one of their cycle tours or carve your own paddle at the Canadian Canoe Museum!

Collingwood – 2.5 hours away

Photo credit: Town of Collingwood

There’s nothing like a good walk. Once you arrive in your FLEX car, hit the pavement on foot with a self-guided discovery walk through Collingwood’s artistic, historical, architectural, culinary and natural features. Since you’re already walking, you could take a Good Food Stroll and discover the unique restaurants, bars, craft breweries, coffee houses and specialty food shops.

Planning your trip

We understand that planning your trips can be a bit confusing at first glance. Here are two scenarios to help you plan your next trip.

Scenario 1: You would like to have a car for three days for a family trip to Muskoka and estimate that you’ll drive it about 175 km there and back. How much will it cost you?

3 days = $50/day + 35$ extra day = $120
175 km x 2 = 350 km
150 km is included per trip and each additional km is $0.25
200 km x $0.25 = $50

Total cost: $120 + $50 = $170

Scenario 2: It’s grocery night. You walked to No Frills from work but would like to take a FLEX car home for your grocery haul. Canned goods are pretty heavy after all! It takes you about 26 minutes to get home because of the traffic and you drove about 5.7 km. How much will it cost you?

$0.41/minute = $0.41 x 26 min = $10.66
150 km is included per trip so you don’t get charged for the distance you drove!

Total cost = $10.66

But wait, you just signed up and have the first 30 minutes free for your first month. This trip is free!

Total cost = FREE dollars!

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.