Good Read: The What, Where, and How of Carsharing in Winnipeg


We’ve gathered your input and answered some common questions from our Annual Member Survey. Here is our Operations Manager, Phil Mikulec with the lowdown on carsharing in Winnipeg.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS – Philip Mikulec, operations manager of Peg City Co-op poses with one of their vehicles parked in the change district Wednesday. See story. – February 27, 2019.

Each year we ask our members what they think of Peg City Car Co-op and how we could improve. We use the data from the survey to help see how people are using the service, what kind of vehicles we need to add and to ensure that we are meeting our member service standards. Each year there are a few questions or suggests that come up that we thought we would respond to in a blog post for both our members and those curious about how our business works.

Car age, quality and type

When Peg City Car Co-op buys a car we expect it to serve our membership for about six years. Most carsharing companies tend to keep vehicles in their fleet for longer than car rental companies because our business models are different. Unlike car rental companies, small (and in many cases large) carsharing companies like Peg City Car Co-op, need to maintain their cars for longer to ensure profitability. This means there will always be some cars in the fleet that are a little older looking and don’t have all the features of a brand new car. As our vehicles age we watch them closely to ensure that they are in the condition we like, and if they’re not we start to replace them earlier. While we do have older cars in our fleet, the average age of one of our vehicles is about 2.5 years.

We also receive comments on the types of cars we have in our fleet. Everyone has different tastes and wants, but we do our best to purchase cars that have wide consumer appeal. There are many other factors we consider like price, resale price, reliability, and safety features when purchasing a car. As we grow our fleet we plan on adding a greater selection of vehicles to appeal to more users. We started with trucks, minivans and cargo vans. Recently we branched out into SUVs as well. As our service grows and more people become interested in our service we will continue to look into a variety of car makes and models to satisfy our growing membership.

Vehicle locations

We often receive a lot of comments in our survey and throughout the year about vehicle locations and expansion suggestions. We definitely appreciate the suggestions and completely understand the request for more cars. Our goal is to expand as aggressively as possible while ensuring the financial sustainability of our company.  In the next 12 months our goal is to grow by 20 vehicles (50%). This includes expanding into new neighbourhoods in the West End and the North End. We appreciate that people are excited about carsharing and want more vehicles – we do too! There’s a lot that goes into where we choose a location and currently more suburban neighbourhoods are not our top priority. Our goal is to expand from our existing network outward to serve edge users and place cars where we see the most new activity.

One-way (free floating) vs two-way (round trip) carsharing 

The age-old one-way vs two-way carsharing debate. Let’s start of by explaining what we’re talking about for all the carsharing neophytes!

Two-way carsharing is what we do! This is where you pickup a car from it’s location and maintain a booking for the whole time the vehicle is out and return the vehicle where you found it. One-way carsharing is currently not available in Winnipeg.  One-way carsharing allows you to pick up a car from one location and leave it somewhere else (within an accepted zone) when you’re done driving.

When starting Peg City Car Co-op we chose two-way carsharing for a lot of reasons. For one, it allowed us to grow our fleet more slowly and incrementally, which was important for a small community based organization. The urban benefits of two-way carsharing are also greater.  International research shows that two-way carsharing entices people to shed vehicles and drive less compared to one-way carsharing. For one-way carsharing to succeed  we would also need on-street parking, which currently the City of Winnipeg does not allow.

We appreciate that one-way carsharing has a lot of advantages. We are currently not in the position to make any specific promises, but continue to look into the feasibility of having both two-way and one-way carsharing operating under Peg City Car Co-op.