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But also fears it will be a similar situation to Car2Go, which cited a “highly volatile” transportation market and limited success when compared to other cities when it pulled out of Calgary.
“The only real concern I have is I’m worried that people will think it’s the same as Car2Go,” said Horner.
“Then we’ll get a lot of issues of people parking in tow-away zones or parking downtown and the next thing you know, Communauto is burdened with administrative costs and recouping the cost of tickets and people are confused and frustrated and give up on it.”
Marco Viviani, vice-president of Communauto, said the firm is starting small but plans to expand as the demand strengthens in Calgary.
“We understand the potential is much bigger than this but we are cautious as an organization,” said Viviani. “It wouldn’t be fair to arrive with too big of a fleet and too many cars. As we have done in the past, we start with a reasonable number, we see the usage and (how) the demand grows.”
He said Communauto has found success in other cities, even when competing against other car-sharing services, and has no doubt it will be the same in Calgary because of its approach.
“We try to focus on the trips people really need to do with a car but not a trip people can usually do with a taxi, with transit or a scooter,” Viviani explained, adding it can help people with more than just going to work in the morning but exploring the mountains or doing big trips to local stores.
Communauto is allowing an additional 15 minutes to trips to allow for the disinfecting of the interior amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sanitizing gels will be available in cars and users are asked to wash their hands before and after use.