Why more Nova Scotians are sharing their cars with strangers

·2 min read
The car-sharing app Turo launched in Nova Scotia in 2019. (Don Somers/CBC News - image credit)
The car-sharing app Turo launched in Nova Scotia in 2019. (Don Somers/CBC News - image credit)

Hoping to cut costs and reduce her carbon footprint, Geneviève Hachey from Dartmouth, N.S., decided to share her car with people looking for a ride.

She searched online for a way to do it and stumbled on Turo, which she describes as the "Airbnb for cars". The peer-to-peer car sharing service connects vehicle owners with drivers who want to travel.

"I was thinking about … how we all own so much and how it would make much more sense to be able to share the things that we own instead of everyone having one of everything," Hachey told CBC Radio's Information Morning.

With a shortage of rental cars due to the pandemic, the managing director of the company's Canadian division says car sharing is becoming an enticing option for more people.

Genèvieve Hachey
Genèvieve Hachey

The San Francisco-based company launched in Nova Scotia in 2019 and this week expanded to Newfoundland and P.E.I. Cedric Mathieu with Turo Canada said Nova Scotia is the company's fastest growing market.

Hachey said it's become a way for her to earn some extra cash.

In the last month, roughly 100 hosts in Nova Scotia earned on average $580 a month, said Mathieu. He said that in busier travel months people can get closer to $1,200 a month.

Most people rent their cars out for about seven days out of the month, he said.

Turo takes a portion of the earnings, and in exchange covers the insurance.

"We'll cover both the car, the guest and the host while the car is on the road and it will stop as soon as the reservation ends," Mathieu said.

Understanding the insurance

Hachey said it's important for car owners to do their homework before they sign up.

She said she needed permission from her personal insurance company to list her car with Turo, and ended up switching providers because the first company wouldn't allow her to do it.

Most of the people using Hachey's car are visitors from outside the Halifax region, who are looking for a way to travel around the province.

She recently rented her car to a couple from Montreal who visited Peggy's Cove. Another couple has it booked for three weeks this September.

Hachey chooses how much she wants to list her car for, and then does a check of the vehicle before and after the drivers take it for a spin.

Still, she said it can be a bit nerve-racking handing over the keys.

"It feels like it is a bit of a risk," she said. "It does feel good knowing that I'm covered insurance-wise, although you never know how people are going to treat your vehicle. You do have the option of refusing people, and it is rated."