What is car sharing?

Car sharing services offer casual drivers the option to rent a car by the hour or day. It is an alternative to owning a car.

Car sharing companies provide membership and plans for anyone who needs a vehicle but does not want to own one. It is an alternative option if you live in the city, or if you do not need to drive long distances on a daily basis, and want to cut down on transportation costs.

Most companies will ask you to pay a membership fee and have a valid "G" level driver's licence in order to use their services. The membership fee will vary depending on the company. There may also be additional requirements to the membership, such as age and driving experience.

Once you register as a member of the company, you will be given access to book cars. You can book available cars online, through the company's mobile app, or by phone. When you find an available car, you will have the option to book it by the hour or for the entire day. Hourly/day rates will vary based on the car sharing company and the car model.

Types of Sharing

There are two types of car sharing: one-way and two-way. One-way means you can pick up the car from a service area near you after booking it, and once you are done you can drop it off at any service area.

Two-way car sharing does not allow you to drop off the car at any service area. For this method, you are required to return the car from the same service area where you picked it up.

What is Included?

Along with the car you will also be given fuel, insurance coverage, and a specific kilometre limit that you can drive. The average limit is generally 200 km but it will vary from company to company. Additional charges will be added on every kilometre that goes above the limit.

Car sharing companies will either give you a gas card that you can use to fill up fuel or they will have the car fueled for you before you rent it. In the second case, if you happen to need more gas during your journey, the company will reimburse you quickly.

Some companies may also give you a Letter of Insurance Coverage to certify coverage history so that you can build an insurance history. Building a good insurance history can lower your rates, making it much cheaper to purchase your own car later on. However, not all companies will allow you to build an insurance history through their membership.

Before deciding which car service company to use, talk to their customer care staff for more information on what is included in their plans. Compare costs, mileages and insurance policies between companies to find the right service for your needs.

Examples of Car Share Services

  • Car2Go - Car sharing company operating only within Toronto.
  • Community Car Share - Car sharing company operating in Southwestern Ontario.
  • Enterprise CarShare - Formally known as AutoShare, a car sharing company operating mostly in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Vrtucar - Car sharing company operating in the cities of Ottawa and Kingston.
  • ZipCar - Car sharing company operating in major cities within Ontario.

For More Information

  • Consumer Information - Detailed information on car sharing services and products. From the Canadian Consumer Handbook.
Last updated: September 6, 2016 4006124