Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The $7 Hybrid Car - Interested?

Ever wish you had a car, but don't want to deal with payments, parking, and maintenance? Zipcar is the perfect solution for you! 

Here's how it works. First, you pay a $25 yearly membership fee. $75 is the normal rate, but Harvard students get a discount. A few days after registering and paying that fee, you get a Zipcar member card in the mail. Using your membership number, you can reserve a car online or by phone.  Hourly rates range from $7 for a small hybrid, to $11.25 for an SUV or large vehicle that could work for moving, to $13.25 for the Mini Cooper Convertible if you're trying to impress somebody.
 There are also day and overnight rates.

When you reserve the car, you get detailed directions to the car's permanent "home" parking spot.  Your membership card opens the car and transmits a signal to the company so they know you've picked it up. Keys are inside the car waiting for you.  There's also a gas card (yes, gas AND insurance are included in the hourly rates!) Customer service reps are on call to answer any questions.  When I made my first Zipcar reservation, they actually called ME to make sure that everything was going smoothly.

Before your reservation time ends, you bring the car back to the exact parking spot where you picked it up.  If you think you're going to be late, you can call or text Zipcar to extend your reservation.   After you park, you leave the keys in the car and lock it with your membership card.  

I love this service because it's so convenient, but also because I feel like a millionaire having cars parked all over town. I like to take a different (hybrid) car every time!  Zipcar is great about offering energy efficient options. The cars are all pretty new, and include Prius, Civic Hybrid, Mini Cooper, Mazda 3, Scion xB, VW Jetta, and Toyota Tacoma.

There are Zipcars in more than 50 cities, so you can also reserve cars when you're traveling-- your membership still works. You can even drive to Canada! 

Here are more details about why Zipcar is green:

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