Last month I finally got around to joining Zipcar. I’d thought about it for years, but took the plunge when I was trying to find a doctor who took my health insurance. Most of them were sale of viagra in Deep Northern Jersey ™, and really needed a car to get to.
Today I took a car out for the first time. I’ve heard mixed reviews of ZipCars: some people love them, some people say the cars are never there when you need them. I’m assuming this is because people return them late. I booked a two hour slot for what I hoped was about an hour and a half long trip.
And it might have been an hour and a half long trip had I not a) gotten horribly lost and b) made the terrible decision to head out to the suburbs during a rainy rush hour. It took us about 45 minutes to get to our destination (Google Maps had estimated 15). Luckily there wasn’t a reservation after us, so I was able to extend it 30 minutes. We made our two stops (art supply store and hardware store) and I got the car back at exactly 5:30.
I have to say that after driving through suburban northern New Jersey I finally understand why everyone hates Jersey so much. But the ZipCar experience was a pretty smooth one. I was embarrassingly a little bit excited about the fact that I could just go online and magically have a car for a few hours. There are a number of cars parked within a 10 minute walk of my house. The rates seem a little steep (our 2.5 hour excursion cost about $35 after taxes). Then I remembered how much it cost to insure and maintain my car back when I had one, let alone the cost of gas or the car itself. For as often as I need a car, maybe once or twice a month, the ZipCar is an obvious win.
I’m sure at some point I will have a run in with a missing or broken car, and curse all things ZipCar, but so far it’s been a pretty pleasant experience.