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The Future of Carsharing in Montreal: Opportunities and Obstacles


A few days ago, The Montreal Gazette published an interesting article on carsharing and its development in Montréal. We found it relevant to highlight it and at the same time to discuss our challenges with you, as it answers some frequently asked questions.

Question: Why aren’t there more cars available?

Answer: “People say we are a victim of our success; that’s not true,” said Viviani, Communauto’s vice-president for strategic development. “We are a victim of the fact that there are no cars and rentals cost too much.”

Car sharing stuck in neutral in Montreal? | Montreal Gazette

The main factor is the supply chain issue which causes a shortage of vehicles. The numbers speak for themselves:

“The company ordered 800 cars to boost its fleet in 2022, but only received 600.”

Car sharing stuck in neutral in Montreal? | Montreal Gazette

For car-rental companies, this challenge has been translated into boosting prices which “added even more strain on Communauto, since more people opted for carsharing for their long road trips.”

Question: Why are some Montreal neighbourhoods not covered by Communauto?

Answer: Demand is not the same and even if Communauto would like to be everywhere, we must let the demand develop. Fortunately, it is only a matter of time. Another important factor is that in certain areas, the parking rules can be puzzling and disrupt the smooth operation of carsharing.

For example, on some streets, there are parking restrictions on both sides of the street on alternate days, which means that a user cannot park a vehicle overnight in the same spot without being penalized with a ticket the next day. It’s the same logic as weekly street-cleaning.

Carsharing development must comply with the city’s delicate parking rules.

Question: What kind of service should I expect from Communauto?

Answer: “Viviani said members need to view carsharing as just one of a variety of options, including the bus, metro, and Bixi during the spring and summer.”

Car sharing stuck in neutral in Montreal? | Montreal Gazette

In the article, a longtime Communauto member gives a testimony that explains the importance of seeing the service as complementary to other transportation options:

“Communauto is just part of my transportation cocktail, and that includes biking, public transit and occasionally renting a car for a long trip when I can’t find a Communauto car.”

Car sharing stuck in neutral in Montreal? | Montreal Gazette

Question: So, what’s next for carsharing and mobility in Montreal?

Answer: “Sophie Mauzerolle, the city of Montréal’s executive committee member in charge of transportation, said the city is working with Communauto to help make it easier to expand the service.”

Car sharing stuck in neutral in Montreal? | Montreal Gazette

The expansion of carsharing services on the territory cannot be done without the support of the boroughs and public policies.

The Montreal administration is exploring various shared mobility solutions, including carsharing, to reduce dependence on private vehicles. The administration also intends to mandate the standing committee of the city council on mobility to examine issues related to shared mobility and to encourage diversification of the offer to provide more options for the general public.

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