Back in February I wrote a blog entry about my transportation options and briefly mentioned the option of car sharing services. I just touched on this because these options can become expensive, but used as a supplement to public transportation, they can be very helpful and not break the budget. The three main services we have here are Zipcar, Car2Go and Getaround. Getaround and Car2Go are not very convenient for me, though I may use them at some point. However, there are two Zipcars right around the corner from where I live, so I signed up with Zipcar this past week, with the nice introductory offer of $75.00 of free driving to use my first month.
I reserved one of the cars for two hours yesterday afternoon. I’d read everything on the website, feeling sure I knew all that was expected of me, how to purchase gas (they pay for it), the sign-in/sign-out times, other rules and regulations. Though I felt I knew all of it pretty well, I still found it a bit nerve-wracking the first time, making sure I remembered everything. The car I reserved was this Nissan Sentra SR:
There were a few scuff marks on the front passenger side near the wheel, and some scratches in the middle of the back bumper, which I duly called in and reported before starting off. The interior was reasonably clean, though the carpet could have used a bit of vacuuming:
Everything was where it should be, the key was on its cord attached to the dash, the “Zipcar Co-Pilot” flip chart was in the glove box, and I was ready to roll. There was supposed to be at least 1/4 tank of gas available, and there was just barely that, so I went first to the gas station on the corner and filled up, using the gas card in the visor pocket. Then it was off to do a few errands I’d planned, and then the rest of the time was spent just joyriding!
When it was time to bring the car back, I knew I’d have to do a nifty parallel parking job, so I allowed an extra few minutes, since I hardly ever have to parallel park. Surprising myself, I did it right the first time, with time to spare! I made sure everything was turned off, brushed off the seats, held my Zipcard to the windshield one last time to lock up, and that was it!
Regarding the car itself, the ride was adequate, not as smooth as I remember Nissan Sentras being, but that may be due to rental-car abuse by other drivers. I also noticed the car pulled to the left a bit on braking, but it wasn’t hard to compensate for that. Overall, it was a positive experience with the car. As far as Zipcar itself is concerned, customer service has been great thus far, and our local office has been really helpful in answering questions and making suggestions, so I’m pleased. For expanding my transportation options, Zipcar it is!