I didn’t want to take Rob to my mom, but I was out of town on Mother’s Day and needed to get a ride to see her as soon as I got back.

Scanning Hertz, Avis and a few other car rental agencies I happened upon ZipCar. I was aware of the small company but wasn’t familiar enough with them to make a reservation.

ZipCar’s website explained the company and its operation. Simply, you join for an annual fee of $50 (plus a $25 application fee) and you can remotely reserve a car by the hour for as little as $11.00 (and that includes gas, insurance and 180 miles). Cars are located throughout the city (they are in over 50 cities) and several garages within a two block distance were close to me.

Once you join, you receive a ZipCard, used as a key to open and lock your car with a swipe over a receiver on the windshield.

I bit and joined online with a coupon code for a $75 credit. Simple. I wanted to know more about the company and decided to pick up my ZipCard at their offices on Broadway. The operation is as virtual as a rental company can get. They use garage locations around the city with little or no real estate overhead.

When you make your reservation you select your location and they provide a list of available cars. Each car has a name. I chose “Rob”, a nifty little VW. Picking up Rob was easy. He was waiting for me at the garage. Following a couple of simple “rules” (checking for damage, cleanliness and at least a quarter tank of gas) we were on our way.

Taking advantage of an overnight special I picked up Rob at 6PM with a guarantee to get him home by 8AM the following morning …. Total tab: $44.00. A New York bargain by any stretch.

I am hooked on ZipCar.

The only cautionary advice is to give yourself enough time to get the car back before curfew without stressing about the clock. Missing the return time by even one minute will cost you a $50.00 fee (for every hour you’re late).

Who needs to own a car in NYC when you have Rob waiting!

1 comment:

alexlucas said...

I tried to work with ZIPCAR, but my NY drivers license is only one year old, having lived in Africa for ten years.

I was rejected out of hand.