Zipcar is an alternative to owning or renting a vehicle. Users who sign up are given access to a network of available vehicles that can be rented for a day or a few hours. The application offers a wide range of cars, including varying sizes in good condition. The user looks for a car in their area and can read its profile. The profile contains location information, type details, the car’s name and cost to drive it. Users can search by car type or location. The user pays the fee, users their car and returns it. Zipcar manages all maintenance so the vehicle stays in working condition. The service also fills the vehicle with gas and provides insurance for the driver while they are using the car.Show more screenshots »
Zipcar was founded by Robin Chase and Antje Danielson in January of 2000. The first Zipcars were introduced to Boston in June of the same year. The company continued to expand, including New York City and Washington, D.C. in its network. Many users have praised Zipcar for its convenience however some claim that the fees charged are more expensive than they need to be, making it difficult to justify paying for Zipcar rather than simply renting elsewhere.
Car rental company Avis announced the acquisition of Zipcar in January 2013.
Zipcar combines carpooling with a rental service. The website is very unique. Users can access Zipcars, which are positioned in many communities across the U.S. Rather than buy a car or work with a rental service, users can reserve cars online through Zipcar. The vehicles are picked up with gas and insurance, used and returned. It works much like a car rental but may be more economical and convenient for some users.
Zipcar utilizes a speedy green color scheme that gives the site a refreshing feel. The design is well organized, but still incorporates plenty of colorful images and graphics. Navigation is made easy with the sleek buttons positioned at the top of the page. Zipcar provides a clean, user friendly environment that lets newcomers learn what it has to offer and how to sign up to become a Zipcar driver.
A new user can join the Zipcar community by clicking the orange “Join Zipcar” button along the right side of the page. The user must choose to join as an individual, organization or join with a university. Individuals are asked to provide a username, email address and password. The next section asks for the user’s address. The user must also select a plan. The last step requires the user’s full name, phone number, date of birth and driver’s license information as well as billing details.
Users are required to select a Zipcar city if their home city is not on the website’s list. The city chosen will determine the rate and fees required to use the service. Users are charged a one-time, non-refundable application fee of $25 plus an annual fee of $50. Low driving rates start around $7 per hour or $66 per day. Rates may vary depending on where the user is driving.
Zipcar offers users another way to rent a vehicle. Some users may find the service appealing. Others may notice that the fees aren’t as competitive as the site would have users believe. Overall, Zipcar provides another alternative to buying a car or renting one for occasional use. The website is user friendly and each vehicle comes with the protection of insurance and a tank full of gas.