Carpooling encouraged and supervised by the Ministry of Transport
Unlike Taxi, Transport à la demande or Uber, carpooling is a non-commercial transportation of people. It is regulated in Quebec by Bill 17, which now regulates paid transportation by people (including cab, uber, eva,…). The law makes a clear distinction between carpooling and paid transportation. As the ministry’s website states, ridesharing does not require a paid transportation permit. According to the Transportation Act, carpooling involves transportation on the same route, where only the cost of the transportation is shared and no remuneration is required. In practical terms, a driver offering carpooling is also required to travel and personally get to the destination, even if he or she has no passengers. The transportation of passengers becomes incidental to the trip and not the primary purpose of the trip. Passengers contribute to compensate the driver for the use of the vehicle, such as sharing the cost of gas.
Ridesharing, a practice with many forms
Carpooling has a long tradition in Quebec, at least since the creation of AlloStop in 1983. Well before the advent of the Internet and cell phones!
There are many forms of carpooling: planned, spontaneous or without reservation. Generally speaking, there are two main categories of car sharing uses:
- occasional long-distance trips, which are developing under the impulse of platforms such as AmigoExpress, Poparide, Covoiturage.ca and Facebook groups
- short-distance trips, in particular home-to-work trips, which are generally developed thanks to the action of employers (formally and informally), specialized companies (Netlift, Covoiturage.ca,…), territories, startups and cooperatives. See the wiki reference page for more details.
Carpooling has undeniable environmental impacts in Quebec. AmigoExpress, the leader in intercity carpooling in Quebec, with over 600,000 members, quantifies its GHG impact of 20,500 tons of GHG in 2018.
Montréal en Commun, what links with car sharing?
As elsewhere in Quebec, long-distance carpooling is the most developed in Montreal. Whether it is via reservation platforms or organized informally on social networks. Short distance carpooling is less attractive to users. There are many reasons for this. The financial advantage is minor and the consequences of a time delay or a detour to pick up or drop off a passenger are more significant. With the Fabrique des mobilités, we are working to determine the obstacles and factors that can be used to develop these two aspects of car sharing.
- Long distance carpooling by showing the interest of supporting this solution for the de-motorization of cities.
- Short-distance carpooling by increasing its attractiveness (implementation of financial incentives, facilitated parking, etc.).
We are also testing the interest of relying on long-distance trips, which already have very good traction in Quebec, to see how carpooling could be integrated into “short-distance” trips, particularly via stopovers.
Why promote ridesharing?
As a complement to bus and train, long-distance carpooling allows residents of a city to travel easily and at low cost from one city to another, without having to own a car or know how to drive one. Carpooling is a lever for demotorization.
Some specificities of carpooling, which make it an essential pillar of the sustainable transportation network in Quebec and an important cornerstone for any city, including Montreal:
A network of connections to over 50 cities
Long distance carpooling allows to find connections to many cities and this on a daily basis. The major routes generate the most volume (to Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Toronto, etc.). Multiple small and medium-sized cities are also served every day. Carpooling is often the only way to get there, for people without a car permit, as trains and buses only serve the major routes. The platform effect, very basic ( complementing the bus and train).
100+ departure points on the island of Montreal
Another complement to the bus and train, carpooling allows someone who lives in Montreal North to find a direct route to Quebec City, without having to go to downtown Montreal. Here is a list of the most popular departure points, listed on the Amigo Express website. The complementarity with public transportation (subway lines) is obvious. An important example of the need for a good local transportation network for the deployment of long distance car sharing.
200+ departures to Quebec City, 24 hours a day
In addition, for Montreal residents, especially those living near the most popular departure points. For example, on a Friday in terms of the number of departures from Montreal to Quebec City.
Comparing with the bus and the train (-30-50% from recollection, compare in real life). Make a comparison between Montreal and Quebec.
An important element to avoid (or wait for) the purchase of a car
For a young city resident, who is the typical carpooler, carpooling allows them to avoid buying a car, which would have been parked all week in Montreal otherwise. As an addition to car sharing, carpooling allows him to go on his “weekend” outings (friends in Quebec City, cottage, skiing,…), without having to own a car. Facilitating the access to carpooling for “young people” makes it much easier to avoid an interesting number of cars in Montreal.
Represents 50%* of the long distance offer in Quebec (number of seats offered)
The triptych train/bus/carpool, is efficient to have a real alternative for the various users on the long distance trips between cities and to minimize the number of cars on these routes.
Presently in Montreal
As part of Montreal in common, we are organizing challenge cycles with the ecosystem to test new solutions to encourage carpooling.
At the moment, we are conducting two experiments on incentives and visibility of the offer. Follow us to share our learnings.