I’m an avid user of car sharing in Toronto. I live downtown in a tiny cliff home, I don’t have access to free parking, and I don’t have a car of my own. I’ve done the math a million times, and as much as I’d love to own my own car, it really is too expensive. It breaks down a bit like this:
|Monthly Car Payment||$200 (for a Honda Fit or similar)|
|Monthly Gas & Maintenance Fund||$100|
As you can see, even with cost-cutting and getting a great deal on a car and insurance, it’s still expensive to own a car downtown. Here are some of the things I like to use a car for:
- Visiting the RC Heli Field
- Shopping for Groceries
- Shopping for Home Maintenance Supplies
- Cruising around, looking at the sights
- Going to nice events without using gross cabs or TTC
Toronto has some alternatives to cars. There is acceptable public transit and you can usually get a taxi by waving. For many tasks and leisure activities, though, both of those options are awkward. It’s annoying for both you and the other passengers to carry any amount of cargo on the TTC, and Toronto taxis can be a harrowing experience. You can get a crazy, sleep-deprived driver, a disgusting or broken vehicle, and an expectation of a significant tip on top of an already expensive ride. That’s not to say I don’t regularly use taxis or the TTC, just that there is a need for a more elegant transportation solution.
Toronto has three major car sharing services. They are AutoShare, ZipCar, and Car2Go. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, and I will try to summarize my feelings about them in this article. Since I have only personally used Car2Go and ZipCar, I will ignore AutoShare in this article. If you’re an AutoShare user and would like to weigh in, there is a comment button below!
I’ll cover each of ZipCar and Car2Go each in their own entry and link them here.