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Here's How to Choose the Best Car-Sharing Service for You

Here are the ideal Ontario car-sharing companies for every personality, from eco-warriors to cash-strapped students

Hip young woman in light orange coat inside a car, about to take a left turn

If you live in Toronto, Hamilton or any other big Ontario city, you’ve probably seen shared cars on the road. The vehicles, which can be rented by the minute or by the hour, are becoming increasingly popular with urbanites who have forsaken car ownership, as well as one-car households who sometimes need a second set of wheels. Here’s our primer to see which service best suits your needs.

Best for the eco-warrior: Maven

People who are concerned about their carbon footprint might want to consider Maven, the lastest car-sharing company to emerge. Owned by General Motors, the company’s fleet includes the battery-powered Chevy Volt, a rarity in an industry dominated by gas burners. Launched in Toronto this past February, Maven also has a suite of other vehicles, from pint-sized Chevy Sparks to burly GMC Yukons.

Rate: from $9 an hour

Annual membership fee: none

Best for the redecorator: Zipcar

When you don’t have a car (or one that’s big enough) to move furniture or anything bulky, you’re not going to be able to take that new Ikea couch home on the subway. But Zipcar, with its fleet of cargo vans, makes hauling stuff around the city a breeze. The vans, which include Ford Transits, start at about $15 an hour. (Zipcar has lots of other vehicles, too.) What’s more, while other car-sharing companies are limited to the Greater Toronto Area, Zipcar has vehicles in smaller cities like London, Kitchener and St. Catharines.

Rate: from $8 to $10 an hour

Annual membership fee: starts at $70

Best for the cash-strapped student: Enterprise CarShare

It’s rumoured that every now and then, university students buy groceries. If that’s true—and we’re not entirely convinced it is—those budget-minded students might want to consider Enterprise CarShare. The company has vehicles stationed at 16 colleges and universities across southern Ontario, and their rates are some of the most competitive on offer.

Rate: from $6 an hour

Application fee: $1

Annual membership fee: $20

Prices were correct at time of publishing. Check with each company for up-to-date rates and offers.

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Image credit: kate_sept2004/iStock