Portland Car2Go members have been able to rent cars by the minute when they’ve traveled to Austin, Seattle, and other US cities that are dotted with the car-sharing companies white-and-blue Smart cars. As of this month, they can use their memberships north of the border, too, as the company introduces its Regional Access program to link up all of North America (including Canadian cities Vancouver, Calgray, Toronto, and Montreal). Here’s what you need to know.
Visit Car2Go.com BEFORE your trip. To make your membership international, you need to accept the new terms and conditions while you're still in the country of your original membership—so don’t wait until you’re stranded on a foreign street corner in the rain. If you’ve used a Car2Go since April 4 or didn’t join Car2Go until after May 5, you’ve already been asked to accept the new terms and conditions. If you joined earlier and haven’t rented a car for a while, you can also accept the new terms and conditions by logging in at Car2Go.com. Users visiting another city should also review the rental procedures, home areas, and parking rules. In Vancouver, for example, you can’t end your trip at a metered space.
Le feu rouge. In much of Montreal, it’s illegal to turn right on rouge (red).
Why is that light flashing? A flashing green light in Vancouver means that the cross traffic has a stop sign instead of a traffic light, so it’s like a blinking yellow at a two-way stop in the US. The blinking green might turn to red only if pedestrian pushes a button at the crosswalk.
In Toronto, though, a flashing green means that facing traffic still has a red light, so you have the right-of-way and can turn left, turn right, or go straight.
You might have to do a little math. Speed limits in Canada are posted in kilometers. One kilometer is about .62 miles, so multiply the kilometer speed by .6 to get a rough miles-per-hour speed. Or just glance at the car’s speedometer, which lists both. (Also recall that gas is sold by the liter in Canada. There are about 3.78 liters in a gallon, so if you want to know how the price compares to the US, multiplying by 4 will get you pretty close.)
We’re not that different. Unlike in many of its fellow British Commonwealth countries, Canada drives on the right, just like we do. Be polite. Use headlights and turn signals. Pay close attention to the rules when you’re in any new city. If you get pulled over, don’t say you were confused by the kilometers or complain that you’re paying 41 cents a minute (plus tax!). That’ll just give those Canucks more reasons to laugh at the stupid Americans.