Since we let our car go, I had been looking for a good chance to try out ZipCar. I wanted something low pressure, in case there were snags.
Today, Danielle had a playdate with one of her classmates, Eloise, after school. Eloise lives reasonably far from us. About a 20 minute walk or a couple stops on the subway. Eloise’s mother was picking them both up from school and I had to go get Danielle around 5:15. Danielle wasn’t going to have dinner there (she’s a picky eater) so I wanted to get her home fairly quickly for dinner.
I could do car service, but then I’d need to run in and grab her quickly while the car waited. Not likely with a six year old.
So I reserved a ZipCar from 5-6. I deliberately waited until today just to see if you can do ZipCar on the spur of the moment. Plenty of cars available. I try a Subaru Forrester (to see if it would be a good weekend getaway car). I could have gone for a BMW or a Mini Cooper. But I’m a practical kind of guy.
It couldn’t have been easier. I walk to the garage a few blocks from our place. I hand the guy at the garage my ZipCard and he gets my car. A ZipCar will only unlock and only start if you have the right ZipCard. It’s just a regular card like a credit card with a magnetic strip. But ZipCars have RFID readers in them. They get programmed remotely so they know who has them reserved. The car will only start and only unlock during my reservation with my ZipCard.
I can reserve cars from my Blackberry or my PC. ZipCar knows where I live so it defaults to the two garages closest to me.
Given that in Brooklyn you have to park your car in a garage a few blocks away anyway, the ZipCar experience was different from owning a car only in that you can’t leave anything in the car.
All in all a very successful first ZipCar experience