Shared Mobility by Region: Canada

shared mobility by region

This month on our shared mobility by region series, we stay local and explore the shared mobility offerings in Canada. In 2016, the urban population of the second largest country on Earth was 82.01%. As the growth in population of Canadian cities continues to increase, so will the demand for transportation. Public transit operators alone will not suffice, so it is easy to understand why shared mobility is becoming an essential part of Canadian infrastructure.

Continue reading to learn more about the shared mobility market in Canada. This month we cover car sharing operators, ride-hailing services (or the lack thereof), micromobility, AVs, EVs and the infrastructure required to accommodate all these alternative modes of transportation.

To read more articles in our Shared Mobility By Region series, click here.


Car Share Market in canada

car2go carshare
Image Source:

As of January, 2018, Canada had 20 car sharing services in operation with more than 336,000 members and 5,200 vehicles. In 2017, there were 3,300 car-sharing vehicles operating in the city of Vancouver alone, dubbed the ‘car-sharing capital of North America.’ A recent Vancity survey has revealed that 95% of ‘Vancouverites’ choose car-sharing services for the convenience, 62% to save money and 58% due to the concern for the environment.  

The are two types of car-sharing, one-way and two-way. An example of one-way sharing is car2go. You take the car from A to B and can drop it off anywhere in the service area. With a two-way car, you book by the hour and you pick it up and drop it off in the same place. The Canadian carshare market is also made up of many players, including small, local, non-profit co-operatives such as Kootenay Carshare. However the top Canadian carshare giants are:


car2go launched in Ulm, Germany in 2008 before making its North American debut in Austin, Texas in 2010 and offers one-way carsharing. In Canada, it is available in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal, as well as 30 other cities worldwide. Included in membership is fuel, insurance and free parking at all permit and residential areas. The car2go fleet contains electric vehicles, but only in Europe and Montreal.

If you are a Canadian member, you can also use the car2go’s carshare services anywhere in North America. However, in May 2018, car2go shut down its services in Toronto. Local Toronto residents complained when the company suggested its users park in any legal space, including those in residential areas. The Toronto city council passed a pilot that was heavily restrictive on carshare operators which included $1,500 parking permit fees per vehicle. The company said that these new rules would mean almost 10,000 parking would be off-limits for its customers, rendering the company inoperable, which is why they suspended their services.

Enterprise CarShare

Originally Autoshare, it began in Toronto in 1998 before Enterprise Rent-a-Car bought the company in 2014. Enterprise carshare offers two-way car-sharing and is available in Regina, Sackville, New Brunswick, Saskatoon and Toronto as well as 35 American states. Fuel and insurance is included.


Zipcar was launched in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2000 and offers two-way car sharing. Zipcar has 10,000 vehicles in more than 480 cities across the world. In Canada it is available in Victoria, Vancouver, London (Ontario), Kitchener/Waterlook (Ontario), Toronto and Ottawa. Zipcar members can choose from over 50 different makes and models ranging from luxury vehicles to large vans.


Communauto launched In 1994, in Quebec City is unique because it offers round-trip, free-floating carsharing. It is available in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax and Gatineau and Sherbrook in Quebec. Unlike other carshare providers, members do not have to pay fees for one-way sharing. The rates are 38 cents per minute and $12 per hour instead. Insurance and fuel are included and Communauto has more than 1,880 vehicles on the roads, including electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf.

The company recently acquired Halifax car-sharing company, CarShare Atlantic in January 2019. CarShare Atlantic is known for its introduction of vehicles that are accessible by everyone into its fleet, which includes a fully automated vehicle for people with physical disabilities.

Communauto also entered the Toronto market under the new pilot regulations of the city with a free-floating service offer. During the first phase of the pilot in November 2018, Communauto FLEX will operate in the downtown core with 200 cars servicing 50 square kilometres.


Modo was North-America’s first car sharing co-operative and started as a thesis project in 1997. It offers two-way car-sharing and is available in Vancouver, Lower Mainland, B.C and Victoria. There is a monthly fee of $5, unless you are an owner – you can buy a $500 share. Being an owner puts your rates at $5/hour compared to the $8/hour. Insurance and fuel are provided to members. Vehicles included are Hatchbacks, convertibles, CUVs, trucks, hybrids, electric vehicles, minivans and cargo vans.

Modo has grown substantially since Evo and car2go entered the Vancouver market and currently has 700 vehicles in its fleet. The company continues to expand on its model and is highly innovative using the latest in-house technology. For example, a new feature that they offer is Open Return. Since the car share revolution began, there has only been one way to book a trip and that is with an end time in mind. Modo’s latest feature allows the user the luxury of booking the car for a full 24 hours but only paying for the length of time the car was in use and it only costs $3.

Modo is also partnering with TranslinkEvo Car Share and Mobi bike share in a pilot to offer integrated travel to the residents of Metro Vancouver. When each method of transport in connected and effectively communicating with each other, it creates seamless, easier travels routes for its users.


Evo began in 2015 and was launched by BCAA. It offers one-way carsharing and is only available in Vancouver. A one-time $35 registration fee is required and the rates are 41 cents per minute, $14.99 per hour or $89.99 per day. Fuel, insurance, free parking all permit and residential only areas are included for their members.

We created a strategy for Evo, that focused on consistent customer service and fleet operations and implemented this strategy in Vancouver. We did this through an internal pilot project, creating a seamless infleeting chain, building an internal call center, hiring dedicated teams and producing a complete library of all fleet and customer service processes. Our goal was to ensure that Evo carshare offers the best carshare fleet and service in Vancouver. 

One main aim for introducing car sharing to Canadian citizens was to eliminate the high numbers of car ownership in the country. In a survey of carshare member however, 28% said they find it more convenient to carshare on occasion but still own a car, due to the strict geographical limitations of many services. However, 25% of those surveyed said they had no more need for a private vehicle and “threw away the key” and 12% said they simply couldn’t afford to buy a car.

ride hailing market in Canada

ride hailing canada

Ride-hailing, although available in many Canadian provinces is still a contentious subject, particularly in British Columbia. Currently, there are only 14 regions in Canada that have ride-sharing services available, a few of which include; Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

These cities make up around 50% of the country’s population. It’s still very much an urban service and overall, Canada’s ride-sharing service is quite small. At present ride hailing revenue in Canada amounts to US$829m, in comparison to China’s US$35,589m. However, this figure is expected to grow by 2023, with ride-hailing revenue forecasted at US$1,067m.

ridehail forecast canada
Image Source:

However, after years of waiting, British Columbians may also be able to catch a ride in an Uber or Lyft – but not quite yet. The B.C. government has introduced legislation to allow ride-hailing in the province by sometime in 2019. The proposed changes include amendments to eight provincial statutes. For example, drivers for ride-hail services will need to have Class 4 licences. This means they’ll have to have criminal record and medical fitness checks every five years.

Similar to British Columbia, Saskatchewan has also passed legislation to allow ride-hailing vehicles in the province. The Vehicles for Hire Act allows ride-sharing companies to operate in Saskatchewan, but gives municipalities responsibility for issuing licences, deciding how licences are allocated, who can drive a ride-share vehicle, setting standards for the vehicles themselves, and setting fees, rates or fares. In February Saskatoon was the first city to introduce Uber to the streets of Saskatchewan.

Some of the bigger ride-hail services currently operating in Canada are, Uber, Facedrive – a Canadian startup aims to pay its drivers better than Uber and offer them the opportunity to be a part of a cooperative business structure, European car sharing company Taxify and Lyft, only available in Toronto, but Uber’s biggest competition.

Ridehailing also has the power in supporting smaller towns transport needs such as Innisfil, Ontario. The town is moving away from more common methods of public transportation such as buses and is opting in for ridehailing services instead. The town is partnering with Uber and subsidizing the cost of rides for its users, offering flat rates on Uber Pool. It is an experimental partnership, but one that is estimated to save $8 million per year.


electric vehicles canada
Image Source:

Canada is behind the majority of other developed-world peers when it comes to adopting EV technology. Canadian consumers in general are not opposed to EV adoption but with government policy and the local auto industry not keeping pace, with regards to public and private EV infrastructure, buying an electric car in Canada can be an expensive risk.

In a survey of 30 member countries by GoCompare, Canada was found to have 23,620 electric cars on the roads at the end of 2017. That’s a lower number than in many smaller countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Canada also placed seventh with regards to EV infrastructure, with 0.56 stations per 100 kilometres of road. In comparison, the Netherlands has 23.25 charging stations per 100 km of road and is number one in the world.

However, these results came from studies and surveys conducted in 2017. According to Fleetcarma, in the first nine months of 2018, electric vehicle sales in Canada (hybrids included) were up by 158% compared to the same period in 2017. Incentives such as rebates for plug-in vehicles, incentives for charging stations at homes, stratas and workplaces are available to B.C. residents, businesses, non-profit organizations and local government organizations.

However, we do see electric vehicles being incorporated into car share fleets, such as Car2Go, Evo, Zipcar. Hopefully with a large scale introduction of EV infrastructure across Canadian cities, we will see a spike in fleets offering electric and hybrid vehicles.

Canadian MicroMobility Offerings 

lime bike calgary
Image Source:

There are many bike share providers operating across Canada. Vancouver, for example has Mobi by Shaw Go, which started in 2016 and has more than 1,400 bicycles and almost 150 solar-powered stations and 75,000 users.

Other areas of British Columbia also offer bike share services. In Greater Victoria, TapBike converts regular bicycles to smart bikes using a Bluetooth locking system and Kelowna started an 18-month dockless bike-share pilot with Dropbike in the spring.

American company, LimeBike launched the first ever e-bike share network in Calgary, which is a success whenever the weather co-operates. Lime released 375 electric pedal, dockless bikes into the streets of the city. The company sends out crews to pick up bikes and charge them so they do not have to be returned to charging stations.

E-Scooter Sharing

Last October, Waterloo city council voted to yes to the implementation of a new micro-mobility solution. The pilot project is also being hosted by Lime. The city was targeted because of its strong tech community and will be bringing e-scooters to its residents in the not-too-distant future.

It’s not just Waterloo that is hoping to implement the current trend in mobility – electric scooters and electric bikes could be on Edmonton roads as early as this summer. If successful, these pilot schemes could pave the way to the introduction of micromobility across the Canadian shared mobility landscape.

Autonomous Vehicles in Canada

AV testing in Kanata
Image Source:

Last year alone there were more than 37,000 road fatalities in the US and 1,800 in Canada. Over 90% of crashes were caused by human error. The introduction of AVs is a way of significantly reducing these numbers.

Ottawa is the not only the capital city of Canada, but the Autonomous Vehicle capital of Canada as well. There are more that 70 companies and organizations creating AV clusters in key technology centres across the city. Each company contributes expertise and technology in areas like software, cybersecurity, IoT to AVs and much more. Anchored by global AV leader BlackBerry QNX, more than 45 of the firms that comprise Ottawa’s AV cluster are located in Kanata North Technology Park, the largest of its kind in Canada. This was also the location of Canada’s first ‘on-road’ autonomous vehicle testing.

However, the Canadian Senate Committee on Transport and Communications report for 2018, found Canada “ill-equipped for the fast-growing future of transportation” and called on the federal government to develop a national strategy. In an effort to combat the lack of infrastructure, cities such as Vancouver and Surrey submitted a $50 million joint application to the Federal Infrastructure Canada Smart Cities Challenge.

Electronic Automation

As part of the Smart Cities bid, the City of Vancouver and Surrey have teamed up and welcomed an ELA (Electronic Automation) shuttle, so that local residents can experience riding in a driverless vehicle. The EZ10 Driverless Shuttle – is already being used in several countries around the world. The shuttle is a fully-accessible, 100% electric vehicle with a battery life of up to 14 hours. It holds up to 12 passengers and will travel at about 12 km/h during the demo but has a maximum travelling speed of 40 km/h.

If the cities of Vancouver and Surrey are chosen as the winning submission for the Smart Cities Challenge, they will be able to “demonstrate the path to safer, healthier and more connected communities while reducing emissions, improving transportation efficiency, and enhancing livability in the face of rapid growth and traffic congestion.”

Is there another region you’d like to see covered in our Shared Mobility by Region series? We will be sharing one article every month covering a new region, and would love to hear your feedback and input here.

Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and there is no affiliation between movmi and them.

Struggling with profitability of your shared mobility service? Get in touch