Cabbin’ Fever: A guide to the city’s best vehicles for hire
Nobody owns a car anymore. Well, okay, some people own cars, but they’re an endangered bunch, at least south of Bloor. As millennials snatch up condos in the core at a staggering rate (downtown’s population has grown by 20 per cent in the last 10 years), the rite of auto ownership, once a milestone commensurate with getting hitched or having kids, has slipped right off the priority list. When walking’s not an option, urban families are availing themselves of Uber rides, car-share subscriptions and other swipe-and-go services that make sense in a city where it’s sometimes tricky to move your arms, let alone parallel park an SUV. In fact, last spring, a new build on University Avenue became Toronto’s first parking-free condo building. In place of a sprawling concrete crypt, it has a handful of dedicated car-share slips—a fact that didn’t prevent 85 per cent of the units from selling out in nine days. The latest A-to-B options make going carless cheaper and easier than ever—provided you know when and how to use them. Here, a guide to the perfect ride for every type of traveller.
Who wants to lug a two-four home on the streetcar? AutoShare is great for weekday transit users with giant weekend to-do lists. There are more than 175 pickup spots in the city—60 in condo parking garages—so members rarely have to hike far to find a Fiat for their grocery run or a truck big enough to haul a set of Billy bookcases. Autoshare.com.
Most popular plan: $29 sign-up fee, $45 monthly payment and hourly fees starting at $9.25.
The Uber app charges fares (plus tips) straight to customers’ credit cards, making each transaction blissfully easy. Of the available tiers of service, Uber Black is the fanciest: leather seats, professionally licensed chauffeurs and, in some cases, complimentary breath mints and chilled bottled water. Uber.com.
5-km fare: $28.
Car2Go’s adorkable Smart cars can be puttered between 150 Green P lots dotted from Jane Street to Victoria Park and Eglinton to the lake, for less than 50 cents a minute. Car2go.com.
Cost: $35 sign-up fee, then $0.41 a minute, $15 an hour or $85 a day.
UberX launched last fall, to the total dismay of Toronto taxi regulators. Drivers don’t have to be pros, so there’s no saying who’ll show up: a seasoned ex-chauffeur or a regular Joe with no sense of direction. Still, it’s one of the cheapest rides in town—assuming fares haven’t doubled (when demand is high, Uber hikes its prices). Uber.com.
5-km fare: $12.50.
BikeShare, the outfit formerly known as Bixi, maintains 80 downtown stations stocked with sturdy black cycles. Best for leisurely jaunts—the clunky bikes weren’t designed for speed. Bikesharetoronto.com.
Cost: $18 per month. The first 30 minutes of each ride are free; after that, prices increase from $1.50 to $7 per half hour.
Since landing in Toronto almost a decade ago, Zipcar has inundated the city with its coupes, hybrids and other errand-running options. There are more than 200 depots in the GTA, making Zip a great get-around-town car. Big bonus: travellers can use their memberships in 43 U.S. states, plus Paris, London, Barcelona, Madrid and Vienna. Zipcar.ca.
Most popular plan: $65 annual membership and hourly fees starting at $9.25.
Underappreciated fact: the Uber app can be used to hail and pay for regular cabs (Beck, Royal, Crown, etc.). Going with Uber Taxi guarantees fixed rates, but Uber automatically tacks on a presumptuous 20 per cent tip. If that seems extortionate, the pre-set percentage can be adjusted online. Uber.com.
5-km fare: $18.
When one post-work G&T snowballs into six, Drink and Dial’s designated-drivers-for-hire will show up anywhere in the GTA and ferry customers home in their own cars. It’s pricy but worth the splurge to avoid a hungover car-retrieving mission. 1-855-533-3425, drinkanddial.ca.
Cost: $80 for 20 km, then $2 per klick.
4 thoughts on “Cabbin’ Fever: A guide to the city’s best vehicles for hire”
I love Car2Go. Riverdale to the Disillery or to the Market for less than five bucks and you don’t have to worry about parking or anything. Cars are generally around your area but the app let’s you reserve a half hour ahead so it’s easy if you plan ahead.
My biggest push towards Uber and it’s offshoots. over traditional taxis, is the quality control is there. The fact that you can rate your ride at its conclusion ensures that you have an enjoyable trip.
29 US states and many Canadian provinces pointed out dangerous gaps in Uber’s insurance!
San Francisco District Attorney called Uber’s driver background checks ‘worthless’.
Their vehicles are NOT inspected by any credible agency or expert.
Their drivers are NOT trained or tested for drug use!
Uber’s rating system is only useful as PR or marketing gimmick, but is NOT considered a serious tool by experts. And even the worst of drivers can return to service after a $75 fee and a Micky Mouse online course.
Even if you manage to catch one of their cars at a reasonable price, there’s no guarantee a driver will not cancel when he/she finds out the trip is short, gets lost trying to find you or doesn’t cancel because a SURGE is on and he can get a more profitable trip.
While Uber’s management is patently misogynistic and predatory, their drivers managed to take it to an even lower level. They have been implicated in 7 sexual assaults in just the last 3-4 months!
There have been some 40 lawsuits filed against Uber.
Not would I not want to use them myself or suggest to anyone I care about, I would not wish them on anyone I don’t like! It’s not a transportation provider. It’s a game of Russian roulette! Even if you are careful and lucky for a while, I would not want to be in the shoes of anyone who is NOT, while using Uber.
A few dollars saved are NOT worth the risk!!!
You overlooked the newest fleet in the parking lot – Student CarShare – specifically designed for students 18+ and available since late last year at UofT and York and with hourly rates starting at $6. Visit studentcarshare.ca for details.
Considering you only post on Uber stories and always negative rants about them you have zero credibility. That said, Uber rejected a number of Toronto taxi drivers because they didn’t meet their standards.
Then you have the fact that if an Uber driver drives like an idiot it will show up on the review that is posted as soon as the trip ends and drivers with numerous bad reviews don’t tend to drive for Uber very long.
Sorry your rant lacks facts.
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