Communauto calls on its users to be vigilant in connection with a wave of vehicle thefts perpetrated in certain stations in recent weeks. Thieves manage to gain access to cars due to the negligence of some users.
The car-sharing company recently wrote to its members to inform them that it was also affected by the increase in car thefts hitting Montreal. “As a car sharer, it is your responsibility to ensure that all doors are securely locked and that the trip is completed, otherwise you may be held responsible for what happens after you leave the vehicle,” advises the company.
Essentially, thefts occur because customers fail to manually lock their ride, relying only on auto-locking after three minutes, enough time for thieves to gain access to the vehicle.
Contacted on this subject, the vice-president of Communauto, Marco Viviani, affirms that the phenomenon has worsened in recent weeks.
There was one weekend in particular where we had around ten cars taken without permission. Since then, it has been a few cases per week. It certainly concerns us.
Marco Viviani, vice-president of Communauto, in interview with The Press
Most of the time, the organization succeeds in finding vehicles using two separate geolocation systems. The fact remains that these thefts complicate the daily work of employees.
“We have several subscribers every day, so when we notice that the car is not where it should be, we are able to find it and recover it fairly quickly. Of course, if the thief completely dismantles the car, that’s another issue, but that doesn’t really happen often, if not ever,” says Mr. Viviani on this subject.
Call for vigilance
A priori, only a few stations would be targeted for the moment. The sectors have not been specified as a precaution. “It’s a group of people who identified that users have gotten into the habit of not locking their cars. They hang around a bit and then steal the keys, and therefore the vehicles. For the moment, it is quite circumscribed and localized,” maintains Mr. Viviani.
However, all this comes at a time when car theft has become a real scourge in Montreal and the metropolitan region. The phenomenon has been on the rise in recent years; more than 800 vehicles are stolen each month on the island of Montreal. Stolen vehicles are generally sent abroad from the port of Montreal, in containers.
Recently, the phenomenon has continued to intensify in Montreal. The SPVM reported 5,920 thefts during the first 6 months of 2023, an increase of 35% compared to the same period last year.
Car theft is expected to reach new heights, with 2022 already having been a record year.
In its notice to members, Communauto advances very clearly: “In the circumstances, we are also counting on your vigilance and [vous demandons] to exercise maximum caution if other people are nearby when completing a journey. »
“These precautions will greatly contribute to the safety of our vehicles and will avoid any unpleasant surprises,” adds the car-sharing company.
Towards a busy holiday season
Furthermore, the holiday season promises to be “complicated” once again this year for Communauto. The 90 zone stations established in the spring, to make vehicles reserved in larger areas, will be removed with the arrival of winter.
“This means that we are repatriating around 350 station vehicles to the FLEX network. Proportionately, we will therefore have fewer vehicles in station that can be reserved in advance. We estimate that from next week, all the cars in the station will be reserved,” says Marco Viviani.
To maximize vehicle availability, a penalty of $20 per day will be imposed this year on any person who cancels or shortens a reservation affecting December 24 and 25, as well as December 31 and 1er January, inclusive.
Only days cut before December 24 will be subject to this penalty, with the aim of preventing “certain people from abusing the flexibility of [la] cancellation and modification policy,” the organization states in an internal notice.
Each year, the challenge remains to receive all the cars ordered, with supply difficulties still strongly affecting the automotive sector since the COVID-19 pandemic. “Last year, we had around 60% of our provisions. This year, it was around 75%, so it’s improving, but it remains a challenge,” concludes the vice-president.
- As of November, Communauto had approximately 3,600 vehicles across the island of Montreal. Next year, the company plans to add up to 1,300 cars, which should allow it to come close to the mark of 5,000 vehicles in circulation in the metropolis.