A new way to get around Toronto has just launched.
Maven is the car-sharing app and mobility brand from GM and is brand new to Toronto. It will allow users to intuitively reserve and drive a car when they need one and don’t have access to their own ride or want to avoid public transit.
There are no signup or membership fees involved with Maven, so drivers only pay when they’re inside a car. Rates start as low as $9 an hour, including gas and insurance, but minus a deductible. Off the cusp, Maven will offer 40 vehicle makes, with an obvious reliance on GM models like Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, Tahoe, Trax and Volt; GMC Acadia and Yukon; and Cadillac ATS and XT5.
The cars will also be a place to showcase the latest GM car tech offerings like OnStar, wifi, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, users simply access everything from their phone, like remote start, keyless entry and more. In the future, they will likely be leveraged to introduce new forms of tech to potential GM customers.
“Bringing Maven car sharing to Toronto not only reduces congestion but also represents the latest step in the development of General Motors’ mobility footprint in Canada,” said Steve Carlisle, president and managing director of GM Canada. “The launch of Maven follows the recent opening of our Canadian Technical Centre-Markham Campus, the largest automotive technology development centre of its kind in Canada, and furthers our ability to bring new solutions to existing problems and redefine the future of mobility in Toronto and beyond.”
As Carlisle mentioned, GM Canada recently opened a new technical innovation centre in Markham, home to 700 new employees all focused on building the next generation of how cars will be used in North America. The focus is on automation and safety, two factors that will no doubt play a role in Maven’s eventual spread through Canada.
Maven cars will be located around the city in hotspots convenient to where members want to be—this means users can find cars to share around Bloor West Village, Liberty Village, King West, The Entertainment District, City Place, Yonge/Eglinton, Leslieville, Ryerson University, The Danforth, Financial District, Little Italy and Eaton Centre.
Car sharing is becoming increasingly popular in urban areas as it reduces congestion by reducing the need to drive everywhere, all the time. According to GM, each shared car takes about 10 cars off the road, and those who use car sharing are more likely to leverage other sustainable transportation options like public transit, walking and biking.
The service is clearly targeted towards millennials, as 79 per cent of Maven’s U.S. user base is under 30 years old. Maven is active in 17 different U.S. cities and Toronto is the first Canadian expansion.
As car sharing services expand, Toronto has been a bit slow to adapt. They were going to introduce a pilot that allowed car-share vehicles to park on residential streets but delayed it, and other companies like Car2go have become frustrated with the city’s lack of quick action.