Vancouver car2go FAQs
Our aim is to offer the highest level of service both on and off the street. To better serve you, some answers to common questions are listed below. If you need further information contact our service centre at or email us at .
1. What Is car2go?
car2go is a groundbreaking mobility program redefining transportation in rapidly growing urban areas. Launched by Daimler in the southern German city of Ulm in March 2009 and in Austin, Texas, in November 2009, it provides a fleet of free-floating, low-emission, self-service smart fortwo cars distributed all over the city. car2go vehicles can be accessed “on-demand,” or reserved for up to 24 hours in advance. For “on-demand” access, members simply swipe their membership card against the vehicle’s windshield.
Unlike traditional carsharing programs, car2go allows its members to use the vehicle for as long as they like, without committing to a specific return time or location. They can have one-way rentals and finish the trip in any authorized parking space within the car2go Home Area. Attractive “by-the-minute” rates include costs for fuel, insurance, parking and maintenance.
2. How do I use a car2go?
To use car2go, simply swipe your membership card against the windshield. In a matter of seconds your membership will be verified and the doors to the vehicle will unlock. You then answer a few questions about the condition of the vehicle, turn the car on and drive away. Once you are finished with your rental, you can terminate the rental on the screen or reserve it as a stop-over by selecting the appropriate choice on the touchscreen. Then swipe your membership card against the windshield, listen for the doors to lock and be on your way.
You can keep the vehicle as long as you want. Use it for short trips in the city, drive to Grouse Grind or go to Harrison Hot Springs. Of course, you can make intermediate stops whenever you want and leave the car2go – for example, to go shopping. In this case, select stop-over to block the vehicle in your absence so no one uses it before you return. This will be indicated by a red blinking signal on the reader.
3. What kind of vehicles does car2go use?
car2go uses the smart fortwo vehicle. This is the most fuel-efficient, low-emission, non-hybrid vehicle in Canada. All smart fortwos come packed with standard safety features more likely to be found in luxury vehicles. These include the protective tridion safety cell, developed especially for the smart fortwo to help ensure crash compatibility with larger passenger cars, electronic stability program, anti-lock braking system, and four airbags.
4. What features are available in a car2go?
Insurance, gas, roadside assistance, free parking in designated areas, GPS navigation, maintenance and 24/7 customer support are all included in the standard rental price.
Inside the car, the onboard touchscreen computer makes operating the vehicle even easier. PIN entry, evaluation, call centre team contact, radio, and navigation system can be intuitively controlled using the touchscreen. The PIN you set during registration needs to be typed in before you can drive the car; this ensures that should your membership card be misplaced, no one can drive your car2go but you. The customer support function enables customers to have immediate, live, in-car support, should they need it.
5. How affordable is car2go?
Very! At just $0.38 per minute you can have a car when you need it. For one hour the cost is $13.99 and a day is $72.99. With free parking around Vancouver, you only have to pay for a car when you drive it.
The cost of car ownership is rising. When taking into account depreciation, maintenance, gas, parking, license and registration, insurance, financing, and taxes in determining the cost of owning a vehicle like the 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, the cost is estimated at $0.49/km. This cost is even higher for mini vans and larger cars. According to the Globe and Mail, the resulting cost of owning a Cobalt is approximately $8,500 per year. When privately owned cars are only used 1 to 2 hours per day, why pay for the time you don’t need the vehicle? car2go takes care of these expenses and provides reliable transportation on-demand for a considerably lower price.
6. Do I need to reserve a car2go?
Not at all! Our free-floating fleet is positioned around the city for any spur of the moment decision to get in and drive. Should you want to reserve a car, you can on a car2go mobile phone application, by logging in to “My CAR2GO” on the car2go.com website, or by contacting the car2go customer call centre at up to 24 hours in advance. Normally, within the urban area of Vancouver, the nearest car2go is never further away than a few minutes walk. Only during periods of extreme utilization could the distance sometimes be somewhat greater.
7. Do I need to refuel, clean or bring back the car2go?
No! We have a full service team to handle all of this. If you do refuel a car2go when it is at 25% or less fuel level, then your account will be credited with 10 minutes of driving time as a thank you. The fuel card is located above the touchscreen and your refueling PIN is written on the screen when you park the car and select “Refuel”.
If cleaning above the normal scope of duties is required, a cleaning charge may apply. Lastly, you never have to reserve or return a car2go - you can use it for as long as you like and leave it anywhere you like, provided you are legally parked in an authorized spot within the Home Area.
8. Can I go outside of the Home Area with the car?
Yes! You can drive as far and as long as you like within BC. An alert will sound to inform you of when you are leaving the Home Area. Once outside of the Home Area, you will not be able to end your rental. This means you will be billed normally for the time you are outside of the Home Area until you return the vehicle to the area. For a map of the Home Area click here.
9. What about parking?
Free curbside and venue parking is conveniently located around Vancouver. In residential areas, members can park and end their rentals in any permit only residential spot. Designated parking locations are available for free in areas like Coal Harbour, the West End, Downtown, Yaletown and Gastown. Members can park and also end their rentals in specially marked car2go parkspots.
A parkspot is a parking space identified and marked as a car2go parking space in heavily trafficked and congested areas of Vancouver. Our available vehicles are located in these designated areas and they can also be parked there indefinitely. For a map of available parkspots click here.
Private parking (such as shopping malls, restaurants, grocery stores, and apartment complexes, etc.) is only allowed when using the vehicle’s stop-over function; a stop-over is when you exit the vehicle without ending the rental and take the keys with you. You will be charged for the time you keep your rental open. Ensure that the area where you park has no parking, stopping or time restrictions that affect you.When completing your rental, restricted spaces such as handicapped, commercial, loading, valet, taxi, and bus zones should not be used for parking a car2go. Any location with parking meters, pay parking, time restrictions, or signs reading no stopping or no parking should not be used to end a rental. car2go rentals should not be completed in other off-street parking locations like residential driveways or garages; shopping center, apartment or office building parking lots and garages; or paid public parking lots or garages.
10. Can my chocolate lab “Chips” ride with me?
Sadly no, your beloved pets cannot join you on your trip. This is for your safety as well as your pets’.
11. Can I smoke in the car?
No. As a shared vehicle, car2go cannot facilitate smokers. Better to have that last puff before you get in.
12. Can my children ride in a car2go?
The smart fortwo features highly efficient restraint systems that meet Mercedes-Benz's passive safety standards. Infant or children restraint systems (booster, infant or child seat) can be affixed properly to the passenger seat by means of the safety belt. A ratchet mechanism locates the tightly pulled safety belt and holds the infant/child restraint system in position. Please note that laws relating to the use and installation of infant or children restraint systems vary by jurisdiction. For what is appropriate in BC please click here.
An electronically controlled system will detect the weight of the occupant on the passenger seat or the installation of a child restraint system. The Electronic Control Unit (ECU) determines the appropriate mode of the dual-stage, full-size front airbag deployment. For very young passengers for whom an airbag deployment could mean a serious risk, the front and side airbags will be deactivated. A control lamp in the center of the roof panel will show this clearly. Always check the control lamp to make sure the airbags are deactivated for very young passengers. It should be glowing and say “passenger side airbag off.”
13. What is the insurance coverage?
car2go has $5 million in insurance coverage for third party liability, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. The deductible for an accident is a maximum of $1,000.
14. What do I do if i need roadside assistance or get in an accident?
Call the customer service centre at + or press SOS on the touchscreen to report the incident. A representative will then immediately help you. An Accident Instructional Kit is located in the glove compartment with further directions.
15. Who can register for car2go?
Anyone! There are just a few requirements members need to meet to be covered under our carsharing insurance. Members need three or more years of driving experience. If you are a "new" driver, you need to display the "N" in the window when driving a car2go. Also, a member must have a driver’s abstract in good standing with no alcohol or drug prohibitions. Offences under the Motor Vehicle Act will be examined- the severity of which can negate membership.
16. How can I register?
Getting into your first car2go is simple. Just enter your name and email and press continue. The prompt will take you to a registration area where you can fill out your personal and billing information on our secure webpage. Once you receive confirmation of registration you will be asked to activate your account and make a quick call to ICBC Driver Licensing at to request that your driver’s abstract be sent to our secure email at .
A one-time payment of $35 for your membership will be processed only if you are accepted into the program. (Should you use a valid promo code, the $35 registration fee may not apply.)
Please note that for drivers to be eligible for ICBC’s special carsharing insurance, an annual fee of $2 will also be charged. The annual fees collected will be donated to Lower Mainland charities that support community-based initiatives. If you know of a charity to which you would like us to donate, let us know at .
After registration, your welcome kit and membership card will arrive shortly. The kit will include some quick tips on how to get started with car2go.
17. How can I tell if a car2go is available?
Each car2go has a special card reader installed on its windshield. A light signal on the device displays whether the vehicle is currently available or reserved. Green is the color that identifies the car2go is available for use.
18. How do I unlock the car2go?
When you register with car2go, you will be sent the car2go member card. In order to unlock the vehicle, simply hold up your member card close to the reader on the windshield. The reader will quickly indicate the doors are unlocked so that you can get in and go.
19. How do I activate the car2go and where is the key?
After you have entered the car2go, you will need to enter your personal code (PIN) into the touchscreen and also assess the cleanliness of the vehicle and confirm that it is not damaged. Once you complete those questions, you will be prompted to accept car2go’s terms and conditions and access the ignition key located to the right of the touchscreen. The ignition is where the park brake and gear shift are located.
20. What do I do when i am finished using car2go?
When you are finished with your car2go you must park in an authorized location: either in a permit only, residential, curbside spot or in a dedicated car2go parking space. For a map of parkspots in busier areas click here. Once parked, select “End Rental” on the touchscreen. Then, place the ignition key back in the touchscreen. Once everything has been positioned, an integrated sensor will make sure that the rental process can be ended. You may exit the vehicle and lock it by holding your car2go member card close to the reader on the windshield. The reader will indicate that the rental is completed and will automatically lock the doors. Check to ensure the doors have locked. If the doors do not lock, please contact the car2go team.
21. How do I pay after using car2go?
Payments for your rental will be applied to the credit or debit card you used in registration. All of your trips for the last month will be logged with attendant invoices; these are accessible in “My CAR2GO” when logging in to the website.