Peg City Car Co-Op will add new cars as city council drops hourly parking rates

By: Brett Kelly

Winnipeg city council is one step closer to some significant changes in parking and carshare programming.

Peg City Car Co-Op, a Winnipeg-based carshare company, is set to launch a 12-month pilot project with seven new cars in public parking spaces throughout the city. This decision is likely to coincide with council’s plan to decrease hourly on-street parking rates by 75 cents. The lost revenue from the pilot project and reduced parking rates could cost the city up to $500,000.

In April, Dawn Olson from Peg City Car Co-Op said to council the chosen locations are meant to encourage people to use alternative transportation. She said carsharing will help Winnipeg’s climate action plan by providing transportation options to those who don’t want or can’t afford a vehicle.

Councillors Matt Allard and Vivian Santos were among a group of council members to pen letters to the Winnipeg Parking Authority in support of the proposal.

“It has the potential for further densification of the city if you consider the space cars take,” Allard said to council in April.

In a report from Peg City Car Co-Op, research indicates up to 15 cars are taken off the streets for every new carsharing vehicle and reduces a person’s individual transportation emissions. 

Lower hourly parking rates, while attractive to car owners, makes some destinations more accessible for carsharing users.

In a report by Winnipeg’s city economist office, the effect of the 2018 $1.50 hourly rate increase has resulted in an overall decrease of total hours parked by 29-37 per cent. The report goes on to say the rate hike has encouraged drivers to park for shorter periods of time. Current parking rates are among the highest in the country when compared to other major cities, including Toronto and Calgary.

Changes to parking in the Exchange District are likely to include new block-by-block tracking, according to Winnipeg Public Service. The downtown area currently has four numbered areas which city economists say make accurate tracking and reporting of parking usage more difficult. The new numbering system could affect Peg City Car Co-Op’s proposed parking pilot program in the area, though the company says it’s unlikely to have a negative impact.

Other Canadian cities, such as Calgary and Halifax, have parking for carshare vehicles built into their bylaws. Peg City Car Co-Op has said it intends to use the pilot project to determine the growth of the carsharing industry in Winnipeg.