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February 7th, 2003

Share a car… a Zipcar!

Here’s an idea I hadn’t heard about (or maybe I did, and I forgot about it): Zipcar is a service that lets you “borrow” (not rent) a car as you need it. Only need one for a couple hours? No sweat — just reserve it online and pick it up at one of the nearby locatons (currently Boston, Denver, New York/New Jersey, and DC are represented). Hourly rates hover around $7 with max daily rates of $55.

The whole reservation/pickup scheme looks pretty neat-o, too. You reserve online, which takes less than a minute, then you take your Zipcard to the location where you’re supposed to pick your car up. You hold the card to the windshield and the doors unlock for you. When you’re done, you return it to the same spot (it’s usually a reserved space), and lock the doors with your Zipcard. In other words: 24-hour self-service.

This sounds like the perfect idea for someone who lives in a city and only drives periodically. Owning a car can be really expensive, but this looks like a might fine little service that I hope takes off…

See also: Common questions answered.

(via Johanna)

Posted in Cars

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday February 7, 2003 -- 10:20:45 am
This is such an insanely good idea, especially in metropolitan areas.

Chicago, sadly, is not one of those areas with a viable carshare program. There is one, currently in testing, with a whopping two drop-off/pick-up points - and I'll bet that most haven't heard of it.

If this can somehow get integrated with public transportation, you've got a great thing. (Take the train to the Zipcar stop, and drive to Ikea.)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday February 7, 2003 -- 11:54:29 am
A number of the DC pick-up locations are in Metro parking lots.

FROM: aharris
DATE: Friday February 7, 2003 -- 12:14:06 pm
Yeah I saw something on tv around 2 years ago about a company like this. It was a different company (which has now gone out of business I believe) and slightly different service. You had to "share" the car between the other customers but...the neat thing was that around your city, there would be reserved spaces for the car so you would always have a parking space on a busy day. Users said that it got tricky on the weekend b/c everyone wanted to reserve the car. Still...great idea.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Friday February 14, 2003 -- 10:51:32 am
Does anyone clean the car in between uses?

I can't wait to be "sharing" the puddle of coffee that the previous driver left in the driver's seat.

On the other hand, to be optimistic, it seems like a good idea.

Who puts gas in it? I can see it now, it'll be just like loaning your car to a friend with a full tank and getting it back empty.

Hmmmm. Maybe I need a few more details before I decide.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday February 14, 2003 -- 3:33:20 pm
All of those questions, and more!, are answered the Zipcar FAQ, Joseph... the general idea is: be nice to the next guy.

FROM: Colleen
DATE: Tuesday June 17, 2003 -- 1:47:11 pm
Hi there. I work at Zipcar! We provide a gas card and members fill the tank if it gets below 1/4 tank. Gas is included in the hourly fee. And we do have fleet operations people who clean the cars. But we try to get all the members to leave it as they found it.
:) Colleen

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 17, 2003 -- 10:03:26 pm
Colleen --

Gotta hook Philly up with the Zipcar revolution. Their public transportation is worse than NY, and I hate driving my own car there sometimes..

FROM: Rob [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday September 17, 2003 -- 9:48:47 am
Oddly enough, I noticed a completely different company that sounds like it does the exact same thing has apparently partnered with the DC Metro system. I saw a banner advertising for FlexCar inside the Vienna metro station on Monday night as I was leaving.

FROM: jon
DATE: Thursday October 23, 2003 -- 2:30:34 am
i just did a case study on zipcar for my class. reserved parking in boston is a beautiful thing

FROM: Dave Walls [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday May 8, 2006 -- 8:08:26 pm
Sorry to resurrect a 3 year old thread, but I happened to pass a Yellow Mini Cooper today in Abescon, NJ (just outside of Atlantic City), that had the prized words "" on the side, with the tag line "Wheels when you want them."

Nothing else to add, I had just never seen one in three years since this Ping, then BAM...there it was. Very odd.

What is this then?

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