My thoughts on Zipcar

Greetings, readers. Rebecca brought this service to my attention a few weeks ago and boy am I glad she did. Zipcar is what is known as car sharing rather than a car rental company. From what I understand, it began in big cities and has finally worked its way to here, State College, PA. I am thrilled. You see, a number of years ago I lost my own car due to a mishap and have been using the local bus system and cabs ever since.

So far, from what I’ve learned about Zipcar, it works like this. After you become a member, if you need a car for an hour or two or three you can look up on their website where a vehicle is closest to you, and try to reserve it. Here in State College there are at least five cars near my apartment building. So more than likely one that is available is within walking distance to me. When making a reservation, if I understand it correctly, you can request the size of car you need or want. After your reservation is made, on your computer screen you will be told what kind of car you have, what color it is, and where the car is located.

I put the service to the test just the other day when I took a friend to meet her train. My first go on it went smoothly but there were a couple of hiccups. I wasn’t quite sure how to use their gas card, for instance, and now must get reimbursed. When Rebecca and I were first taking a look at this, there was a set of short videos – a how-to more or less – on what Zipcar is all about. I should have looked at the video explaining gas fill-ups more carefully because it did answer my basic question. Live and learn, as I always say. Also, the car is locked and unlocked with my Zipcard, while the keys stay in the car. Leaving the car with the keys locked in it goes against everything I was ever taught and trained to do.

The car I used the other day was a Toyota Prius hybrid, and it was the first time I have ever driven a hybrid. It didn’t take me long to learn how to use it and I loved it. Peppy and efficient with an awesome stereo.

How will Zipcar be useful to me, you ask? Well, if my dear Godmother needs me in a hurry, if I need to get to a doctor’s office not on a convenient bus route, or if I need to take someone to a plane or a train in a pinch, this service is perfect.

There were two fees at the beginning of the membership, that cost a bit of money; one to become a member and one for my annual fee. The relatively inexpensive per hour charge I like, but I have to watch myself that I don’t use this service too much. I am on a budget. Even though I’ve only used the service once, I have already reserved a car for my annual Christmas Eve light ride. So far I give Zipcar a good solid 8 out of 10, and thanks again, Rebecca.

Hope everyone enjoys their afternoon. Take care, stay safe and happy reading.

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