The Down Low on ZipCar [Nice Ride] | Posted at 8:54 PM
First, I said that ZipCar sent my ZipCard to my apartment. At least, that is what the rep over email told me. Turns out he was wrong, something went awry and it was sent to the billing address (the default shipping address). While I waited two weeks for my ZipCard I found out that it was at home when my mom called and asked what this Zip thing was in the mail. ARGH.
So I called up ZipCar, told them about it and they said they would send me a new one to my apartment. I also told my mom to send me the one at home (I called ZipCar before I knew the original ZipCard came to my billing address). The one at home arrived at my apartment before the new one sent by ZipCar did (by a few days). It wasn't a hassle to activate the "old" card, a quick phone call and I was all set (and now have an unusable ZipCard next to me). I was only frustrated for having to wait almost three weeks before I could use the service (killing some of my weekend plans).
With all that behind me and with ZipCard in hand I reserved a car today, about 15 minutes before I needed it (5:45pm) and for a whole 2.5 hours. There were six cars available from 6pm-8:30pm which is pretty impressive for such short notice, albeit a weeknight.
I picked the Honda Insight and took it for a ride. It was easy as pie to open the car, hold your ZipCard to the windshield and the locks come open. I used my University's parking pass to leave the ramp and was off to the wild blue yonder.
My overall experience was very good. The only thing I had some trouble with was gas and once you do it, you should be able to do it quickly afterward. On the Insight, you push down on the gas cover to open it. It took me about 10 minutes to figure that out, looking through the manual. I am used to pulling a lever/switch inside the car to open it.
You then swipe your ZipCard at the pump, then enter in the odometer mileage and your member ID. Once verified, pump away!
When I returned the car, it was a little confusing as to how to make sure ZipCar knew you returned the car on-time. They say you swipe the card and make sure the doors lock. I did that but there's no "special" indication that it knows you're done… but I don't know if ZipCars know when they're home. It's not a big deal and it might be nice to still get into the car once you return it before your time runs out, in order to get groceries or something. Maybe a txt at the end of your reservation that says, "Thanks for using us!" or something that isn't, "YOU WERE LATE!"
So, are ZipCars real? Yes. Do they work? Yes. Are they sweet? Yes.