September 25, 2021

ZIPCAR: Those crazy hippies are using communal cars!

[atlgirl][My first instinct was to reference a column written by a certain Ms. Carrie Bradshaw. However my life isn’t nearly as glamorous, though I DO live in the city. It’s just, well , MY life.Referencing Sex and the City would be a bit trite, too. So, without further fanfare: Life in the City. I feel like, considering my audience, I should put a disclaimer for the faint of heart: I hear the big city is an evil, awful place…]                                                      

The idea behind ZipCar is a lot like the idea of a library, but with cars. You can “check out” any car from the ZipCar fleet with an online reservation at a low hourly rate. Want to drive a snazzy convertible for the weekend? ZipCar has those!

What about a nice luxury sedan for that big lunch meeting? ZipCar can help! How about an SUV to haul the neighborhood kids to the game? You’re good there too.

ZipCars are located all over the city of Atlanta, and other major metro areas nationwide. I hear they even have a few in Columbus, Ga. They are located in clearly marked, designated spots, in parking lots or garages.

When you make an online reservation, ZipCar will show you available cars on a map. You can view ZipCars by car type or by location closest to you. If you access ZipCar from your smart phone with GPS, the app will find cars closest to you.

Once you have selected the specific car you want and the time you want, you book it online or on the ZipCar app. At Georgia Tech, where I work, there are 5 ZipCar locations with about 20 cars total available.

In Lindbergh, where I live, there are 2 ZipCar Locations, with 5 cars, all within walking distance of my apartment. This is where my favorite car, a 2010 MINI convertible lives. It’s like driving a street legal go-cart!To use ZipCar, all you need to do is sign up to be a member.

You provide some basic information, driver’s license, name, telephone number, and link your membership to a credit or debit card account, which you use to pay for driving time.

There is also an annual fee, but it’s reasonable, in my opinion. I work for Georgia Tech and they have an employee group membership.

I received a preferred rate of $25. The rate varies, depending on how much you anticipate using the ZipCar service, but it’s generally between $25 and $75.

Once your driving record is reviewed and given the ok, you are issued a membership card. This card is the key, quite literally. You can now make reservations.

When reserving a ZipCar you chose the length of time you need the car, by the hour. Rates are clearly posted on the web page or app by the car’s reservation information, and range from as low as $7.95 an hour to upwards of $15 for higher end luxury models.

Once you’ve selected the car and how long you need it, your debit or credit card is authorized for the anticipated rental fee. A detailed rental information page is provided for you to print out.

This page is very helpful, with specific car-related tips, from type of gas to “quirks” you might notice in a specific model or in a hybrid, to giving landmarks so you can identify exactly where the ZipCar is parked.

When your reservation time arrives, navigate to the location of the ZipCar you selected and get in and go. How? Your ZipCard unlocks the car and the keys are inside! Just hold the cars in front of the ZipCard reader, generally located on the upper driver’s side windshield, and *ZIP*, the doors unlock.

You’re ready to drive! When your time is up, return the car to the location at which you found it, make sure there’s at least ¼ of a tank of gas for the next “Zipster”, and go on your merry way. Oh, and that gas thing? There’s a fleet gas card in the car. You don’t have to pay for it!


  1. It’s conservative to share cars when you consider the cost of owning your own car compared to a competent car share price model simply because it is a cornerstone of conservative ideology to save money and not spend recklessly.

    It is not conservative for someone else to watch-over the cleanliness, health and safety status of the vehicle you decide to use, but consider the odds of an infraction by the previous tenant or by the car share authority multiplied by the frequency ratio of your car share use. I find that it is an acceptable margin if the price is right.

    I am conservative and I approve this message.

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