Family Events, Reviews, Traveling

Carsharing in the City

Are you hoping to get out of the city this summer but feeling like you and your family have no way of doing so? Car sharing services are an economical way to rent a vehicle for a short period of time, whether to drop someone at the doctor’s office, visit a relative, or to drive to a nearby conservation area like Crawford Lake for a day trip.

Here’s a breakdown of three car sharing services that are easily accessible in the city of Toronto- read through our primer to find the fit that’s best for you and your family!

Image of children peeking into window of bright red sportscar.

“Object of Attention” CC image courtesy of CarSpotter on Flikr.

Before you start:

  • Make sure that you’re up-to-date on the latest car seat information. It’s essential that each child riding in your vehicle has a car seat properly fitted for their height, weight, and development. Check out the Toronto Fire Services’ page for all you need to know about recalls, proper installation, and car seat clinics in Ontario.
  • Nervous about transporting your child in a two-seater? The Globe and Mail shares the lawful requirements of driving children under the age of 10 in the passenger seat of a two-seater vehicle. Remember, though: The CPS and the Canada Safety Council are definitive that the back seat is always the safest place for child passengers.
  • Always evaluate your rental car for damage before you drive it, this way you won’t have any unpleasant surprises during your trip or upon your return.
  • Check your preferred car share business’ website for all their updated terms and conditions. This way you aren’t hit with any surprise fees at the end of your trip.

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Zipcar

Eligibility: Must be 21 or older with a valid driver’s license or 18-20 if affiliated with a college or university. Zipcar reserves the right to decline memberships based on driving history and/or credit issues.

Cost: Three plans exist: Occasional Driving, the Monthly Driving Plan, and the Extra Value Plan. For the first two, rates are as low as $89/day and from $10.75 an hour Monday to Friday. Hourly it bumps to $12.25 for Weekends. When you sign up, make sure you ‘Join with a University.’ This feature allows you, as a UTM, UTSC, and UofT St. George Campus student, alum, or faculty/staff member, to bypass Zipcar’s application fee and get a deeply reduced discount for Zipcar’s annual fee. (St George Campus students only pay $20 annually!)

Interior shot of family driving in minivan full of activities and luggage.

“Car rides.” CC image courtesy of Rafael Castillo on Flikr.

Gas, insurance, roadside assistance, and daily mileage up to 200 km/day are covered by Zipcar

Access: Apply online! Zipcar uses a free mobile app accessible on iPhones or Android devices that allows you to find, book, and unlock any Zipcar vehicle you’d like to rent.

Multiple Drivers: You can add family or friends to your account so that they can drive your vehicle as well. If your fellow driver has a membership and is not on your account, they are also permitted to share driving responsibilities.

One-way or Two-way? : Zipcar is a two-way car service; you must return it to the same place you picked it up.

Smoking and Pet Policy: All vehicles at Zipcar are smoke-free and pet-friendly, so long as Fido is secured in a pet carrier.

Family-Sized Vehicles?: Rent SUVs, minivans, and Volkswagen Golfs.

International License Policy: Licenses from outside of North America are accepted, so long as you submit a driving and accident record declaration along with a copy of your license and passport when you apply.

Disability Policy: Zipcar is able to accommodate members with disabilities. Ensure that you contact a service agent at the time of your booking to confirm Zipcar’s latest policy.

Zipcar Bonuses

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Car2go

Eligibility: Must be 18 years of age or older with valid driver’s license and with reasonable driving experience. Driver abstract must be in good standing with no alcohol or drug-related violations. Offences under the motor vehicle code will be examined and their severity can negate membership.

Cost: With car2go you only pay for as long as you’re using the car; $0.41/minute plus applicable taxes/fees. Their system automatically charges you for the lowest amount, in longer rentals $14.99/hour or $84.99/day. New members must pay a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $35. Members must pay $1 plus taxes per trip as a driver protection fee.

Gas, parking, roadside assistance, and daily mileage up to 200 km/day are covered by car2go.

Image of woman surrounded by street signs

“IMG_1244” CC image courtesy of Joel Tullock on Flikr.

Access: Apply online! Car2go uses a free mobile app accessible on IOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows devises that allows you to find and rent cars and manage your account

Multiple Drivers: You can have up to two drivers on the same account, just ‘Add Co-Driver’ on your profile.

One-way or Two-way?: Both! But don’t forget, if you’re stopping to complete an errand you can keep your keys, though you’ll be charged for the entire time that you are logged into the vehicle, even if it’s parked.

Smoking and Pet Policy: All vehicles at car2go are smoke-free and pet-friendly, so long as Fido is secured in a pet carrier.

Family-Sized Vehicles?: Car2go offers 2-seater smart cars only.

International License Policy: International licenses are accepted- you must provide a copy of the front and back of your driving license to car2go as well as a copy of your driving record. Should the documents not be in English, a certified translation must be provided.

Disability Policy: Ensure that you contact a service agent at the time of your booking to confirm car2go’s latest policy.

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Enterprise CarShare

Eligibility: Must be 18 years of age or older with valid driver’s license.

Cost: University of Toronto faculty and staff can join for $20, get hourly rates from $8.25 ($9.25 on weekends), and daily rates from $65. UofT Students can join for $0 and get hourly rates from $6 ($9 on weekends) and daily rates from $65.

Gas, insurance, roadside assistance, and daily mileage up to 200 km/day are covered by Enterprise CarShare.

Access: Apply online! Enterprise CarShare uses a free mobile app accessible on iOS and Android devices that allows you to make, change, or cancel reservations.

Multiple Drivers: You can have up to two drivers on the same account.

One-way or Two-way?:  Enterprise CarShare is a two-way car service; you must return it to the same place you picked it up.

Image of toddler in boosterseat in back seat of car.

“Upgraded to a booster seat. :)” CC image courtesy of Claire on Flikr.

Smoking and Pet Policy: All vehicles at Enterprise CarShare are smoke-free and pet-friendly, so long as Fido is secured in a pet carrier.

Family-Sized Vehicles?: Rent sedans, SUVS, pickups and cargo vans, hybrids, and electric vehicles.

International License Policy: International licenses are accepted- you’ll need to show yours to a local Enterprise CarShare representative and you’ll be contacted with further instructions upon receiving your application.

Disability Policy: Enterprise Carshare is able to accommodate members with disabilities. Ensure that you contact a service agent at the time of your booking to confirm Enterprise CarShare’s latest policy.

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Travelling with Someone in a Wheelchair?

Here are two businesses that offer lift-equipped van rentals in the GTA! Contact them for more information.

Wheelchair in Motion’s daily rate starts at $135, includes the first 50km free, and can be rented for over 7 days if necessary.

Universal Motion can provide cost estimates, daily, weekly, monthly, and longer rentals, and can direct customers to funding agencies that assist families in financial need.

And with that, enjoy your trip, folks!

Image of elderly woman waving out of passenger window of vehicle.

“P1000783” CC image courtesy of kristenlea71 on Flikr.