New Flex car-share service launches in Hamilton. Here’s how it works


Published June 13, 2022 at 4:44 pm

New Flex car-share service launches in Hamilton. Here's how it works
The City of Hamilton and Communauto officially launched the new Flex car-sharing service Monday (June 13) as part of a pilot program for Wards 1, 2, and 3.

The City of Hamilton and Communauto officially launched the new Flex car-sharing service Monday (June 13) as part of a pilot program.

The city’s first free-floating car-share will begin with a fleet of 25 Communauto Flex vehicles deployed across Wards 1, 2, and 3 — essentially spanning from the Dundas boundary to Ottawa St.

Vehicles will be able to travel to destinations in other wards, but the vehicle will remain an active trip in the booking system until they return the vehicle to the designated wards.

New Flex car-share service launches in Hamilton; here's how it works

The pilot program will operate in addition to Communauto’s existing round-trip station-based service, which has operated in Hamilton for over 12 years.

“Communauto is proud to be able to launch Flex service in Hamilton, and nearly double the fleet size available for residents in the city,” said Benoît Robert, CEO of Communauto. “Communauto aims to offer a sustainable and economical alternative to car ownership, in complement to transit and active mobility.”

“By adding FLEX vehicles to our offer in Hamilton, it’s another great addition that further develops mobility options in the city.”

One-way Flex service, or free-floating carsharing, is accessed by members through the Communauto app. Available vehicles appear on the map and can be blocked for use, with a free 30 minutes given to reach the vehicle and begin a trip. Users can make stopovers, run errands, or make out-of-town trips with the vehicles.

Once they’re done, they just have to park the vehicle in an on-street parking spot in the Flex Zone, where free-floating carshare parking is allowed. The vehicle then becomes available on the app again for the next user.

By-law amendments will allow users to park a car-share vehicle in a time-limited parking zone for up to 72 hours. The fee for an annual permit will be $270.78 plus tax.

Users of Flex vehicles will continue to have access to Communauto’s driving rates.

The base Open plan Flex service has no monthly fee, and its usage costs $0.41 per minute, $10 per hour, or $50 per day. Each trip has 75 kilometres included in the price, and additional kilometres are billed at $0.21 per km.

Other rate plans are also offered, allowing members to use cars for $2.95 per hour, plus $0.27 per km, with fuel and maintenance included.

Users will not be permitted to end their trip on through highways, in revenue-generating parking spaces, or in municipal car parks.

“One of the City’s key strategic priorities is expanding transportation options to residents, and we are very pleased to do so today with the launch of the new free-floating carshare pilot program, Communauto Flex,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “This program gives residents more flexibility in how they get around by providing people access to a vehicle without the need to book in advance, allowing Hamiltonians to choose the most appropriate method of transport for their trip.”

“Thank you to our Sustainable Mobility team and our partners at Communauto for bringing this program to life.”

Toronto ran a similar pilot program from 2018 to 2020 and made it permanent after deeming it successful. According to a staff report, once users became more familiar with the service, less than 1.5 per cent of the free-floating car-share trips resulted in a vehicle overstaying its allotted time limit. The report also claims that one car-share vehicle can replace anywhere from six to 23 vehicles on the roads depending on the municipality studied.

The full staff report is available here.

More information on car-share services in Hamilton can be found on the city’s website.

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