Any experience with ZipCar

Have you used the membership car rental system zipcar? ( It is a good alternative to owning a car, giving you access to an automobile when you need it. I was wondering if anyone here has used it or considered it. What has been your experience?

JD, Sorry, Can’t help. Just So You Know, Not Everyone Can Have An Alternate To Owning A Car.

I’m ten miles from the nearest jerk-water town and 20 miles from my daughter’s high school where there’s a thriving metropolis, replete with a Wal-Mart store, gas stations and a bar.

As a matter of fact, between our family members who operate cars every day from home, we’ve always had at least one “spare” back-up car, ready to go. We’ve got a driveway full of cars. Commutes to work and school in all kinds of weather, depend on reliable transportation.

I think it’s great that some people can opt for alternate transportation, but please understand than many people in the U.S. have got to own cars.

At times I envy your situation. What sort of city (?) do you live / work in ? Is it a major city ? Does it have transportation other than private vehicles or rentals?


Please give description of this.

Basically, it’s a car rental service that is specifically designed for people who don’t own cars. The cars are parked around town in small lots and when you need one, you just go online and reserve it and then you can stroll over and it automatically unlocks when you get there (you have a little radio transmitter card that’s unique to you). You pay a yearly fee and then an hourly fee that includes the cost of gas, insurance and everything.

Like CSA said, it’s great if you’re in a situation where you only occasionally need a car. From what I understand, though, the level of service really varies a lot from town to town or even from neighborhood to neighborhood. There’s some where there’s always a car ready to go, but others where there’s peak demand problems where during times when a lot of people want a car (like the weekends) there’s not enough to go around.

The cheapest package is 50 bucks a year so if you think that might work in your situation, I’d say it’s worth trying out.

I have a cousin who lives in Boston and does not own a car. He is a Zip Car member and he swears by them. Weekend trips once or twice a month, down to The Cape, stuff like that, works great for him…

Thanks for the feedback – yes, I understand many people in the US own cars (hey, that is what cartalk is all about!). But I was trying to help some friends become less car-dependent. The or help people still have access to a car with the idea that they pay when they need it, rather than owning a car 24/7. I asked for feedback here because I was wondering if anyone had some perspective on it–and some people have responded below – I hope for some more responses.

The reason I ask is I am car-free myself. I did own a car way back in the '80s–a 1985 Ford Tempo–do they make those anymore? But for the past 20 years–no car (by choice, not because of some suspension or anything). I don’t miss it because I’ve always lived in compact, walkable towns or cities with my destinations within walking distance. Rode the bus when I needed it. Took planes between cities, trains, boats, etc. Also, cars: you can rent a taxi when you need it or event a regular car rental agency (this is pricey, though–hence my wondering about zipcar).

I helped my girlfriend become car-free, and I’m trying to help others. Being car-free has been one of the most wonderful aspects of my life–I’m literally healthier, wealthier, and wiser because of it. I did hear the cartalk show on the radio. It is funny.

Best wishes – CSA – you mention your car dependency. The best way to reduce that is to live where you can walk places. Check out and then even a site like to see how you can reduce your car dependence.

I lost my mother to a terrible car accident years ago. I know many, many people have lost loved ones and friends, family, colleagues, and co-workers in car accidents (about 3,000 dead every day worldwide), and I so I do this for them, and the families who lose loved ones all to much. My hope is to help people live.

Thanks For The Help Trying To Get Me Over My Car Dependency And Into A City, But Like You I Have Chosen To Live In This Location. I live On The Shore Of A Remote 10,000 Acre, Pristine Lake With My Family.

It’s good that you’ve seen the light and are trying to save others. There’s no saving me. I love it here too much and enjoy cars, driving, boats, Sea-Doos, skiing, and related outdoor activities. We actually avoid urban areas as much as possible . . .
. . . Whatever floats your boat.

Your surroundings sound wonderful – reminds me of the country where I grew up. It is wonderful that people are free to choose! Best wishes.

Son in San Francisco,
Doesn’t own a car, doesn’t want one.
Uses BART , muni, caltran, and…


( one of the big reasons to keep your driver’s license up to date even if you don’t own a vehicle, you can beg, borrow, or … rent when needed. )