MONTREAL, Sept. 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Communauto revealed today the preliminary results of its 100% electric one-way carsharing pilot project, launched last June on the Plateau-Mont-Royal: Auto-mobile. The aim of the pilot project is to evaluate the benefits and impacts of such a service so that the City of Montreal can, subsequently, make a decision based on concrete experience regarding the implementation of such a service in Montreal.
Two main conclusions have emerged from this first analysis. The first conclusion is that Auto-mobile replaces with car trips a significant number of trips that would have normally been made with other modes of transportation (public transit, taxi, walking or cycling). Nevertheless, several observations support the hypothesis that this service could contribute, in the end, to consolidate the transportation offers competing with individual car ownership and allow for the decrease of household motorization. Monitoring over a longer period of time and collecting additional data is needed to confirm this potential.
The second conclusion is that this project could potentially be the key to launching the electrification process of the vehicle fleet of a city like Montreal. Though the observation period has been short so far, the use of electric vehicles seems to be a potentially viable and financially sound option as well as a promising avenue in terms of minimising the environmental impacts related to the cannibalisation effect of the service on other modes of transportation.
More details about the preliminary results of the project are available at www.communauto.com/auto-mobile/rapport.pdf
The use of the OPUS card was not only specific to this particular project but it also enabled a broader connexion between the service and the other public transportation offers. This aspect of the service not only demonstrated the reliability of the on-board technology in reading the OPUS card but also allowed users to access the vehicles by using a card they already owned and knew to be efficient.
Important decisions to come
As of Monday September 30th, borough councillors of many boroughs will be asked to vote on regulatory changes in order to extend the implementation of one-way carsharing systems in Montreal.
Unfortunately, it seems that at this stage, the motions put forth do not state any conditions to be fulfilled by the service providers, any requirements to be met or any sort of accountability in order to pursue the observation of the impacts of the service on the different transportation modes in Montreal.
"In this matter, it is our belief that the City has a duty to act with vision. It is she who must let her expectations known and aim for the best for Montreal. If the electric aspect of the project seems promising, why not make it a requirement for obtaining the parking permits that allow these cars to park anywhere? "asks M. Benoît Robert, president and founder of Communauto.
This morning, Communauto sent a letter to the borough councillors of the boroughs concerned to raise their awareness regarding the importance of the decision they are about to make (www.communauto.com/auto-mobile/lettre.pdf). Unlike traditional carsharing, many factors remain unknown when it comes to the impacts of one-way carsharing on other modes of transportation and on the car ownership rate. It is therefore imperative that the City also requires of service providers, in return for her support, transparency in the sharing of data that will lead to a better understanding of this new service and how to maximize its contribution.
"If the City and its boroughs allow the service to be implemented with gas-powered vehicles right from the start, it will be very difficult, even for Communauto, to sustain an offer based on electric vehicles. Why lower our expectations when the pilot project seems to demonstrate the feasibility of an electric fleet, considering that this service would not cost the City of Montreal a penny and could be an excellent showcase for her to abroad? "asked M. Robert.
More details about the functioning of Auto-mobile project are available at http://www.communauto.com/auto-mobile/
Founded in 1994, Communauto is a company with an urban, social and environmental mission that serves more than 29,000 users thanks to a fleet of some 1,200 self-service cars, available 24/7, in combination with public transit and active transportation. Communauto vehicles are found in more than 400 stations, located in Montreal, the city of Québec, Gatineau and Sherbrooke. For more information on Communauto and its service points, visit the website www.communauto.com.
For further information:
Director, development and public relations
Tel: 514 499-8099 ext. 2956