Commuting, COVID-19, and the Shift to Remote Work

medium.com

By Alexandra Cutean | email

COVID-19 has prompted the world’s largest remote working experiment, with many suggesting that it will remain the norm — at least in some form — in a post-COVID world. Does this signal the eclipse of the daily commute? In some cases, perhaps, but for many Canadians, getting to the office — even on an occasional basis — will still be a reality. Recently, ICTC’s Senior Director of Research & Policy sat down with Antoine Abribat, CEO of carpooling app Commut. Originally hailing from Paris, a city with millions of daily commuters, the Toronto-based entrepreneur discusses digitally enabled carpooling, the sharing economy, and new methods of eco-friendly mobility.

Alexandra:

What are your thoughts on the future of transportation, especially within dense cities like Toronto where it’s costly to own a car, and the cost of living is also high? I know recent trends indicated that car ownership was on the decline in many cities, but now it seems that COVID-19 have turned this on its head. Interest in vehicle purchases has increased in many cities amid fears of public transit.

Antoine:

This is a very interesting area. Ultimately, COVID-19 was a game changer from many perspectives, including this one. We were initially forecasting a decrease of personal car ownership and usage, but you’re right that in the wake of COVID-19, interest in car ownership has grown again.
It’s hard to say what the future of transportation will look like everywhere, but I would argue that the future of the commute in big cities will be a blend of different solutions. Travelling by bike or walking to work is doable for some, but only those who have small distances to travel. If you have to go more than 5km, you reach your limit with a bike. I think the personal car will remain a staple in cities like Toronto, so this is why we want to promote solutions like Commut — car use will be around for some time, but there is no need to add more cars on the road.

Read the full interview here 🎙

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