Zipcar, North America’s largest car sharing company, announced plans to double its San Francisco Bay Area fleet within the year, expanding into new communities throughout the region while increasing service in existing neighborhoods. As part of this expansion, Zipcar is expanding service into East Bay, with 14 Zipcars now placed at locations throughout Berkeley and Oakland.
As part of an innovative partnership with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) to promote the economic and environmental benefits of car sharing for commuters’ short term transportation needs, most of Zipcar’s initial East Bay fleet will be located at the North Berkeley, Ashby and Rockridge BART stations.
Other Zipcars are to be located throughout downtown Berkeley. These Zipcars will include several of the 20+ makes and models in the Zipcar fleet, including Toyota Prius Hybrids, MINI Coopers, Mazda 3s and BMW 325is.
The San Francisco fleet expansion follows the recent announcement that GE Commercial Finance Services has greenlighted $20 million in vehicle financing, supporting Zipcar’s growth and enabling Zipcar to source and roll out new vehicles.
The company also announced its expansion into Chicago, which now becomes Zipcar’s midwestern hub. To mark its Chicago launch, Zipcar is also crediting every new account in Chicago with $25 in free driving.
Earlier this spring, Zipcar also introduced service in Toronto, Canada, the company’s first venture into markets outside the United States. Zipcar currently has the largest active membership base of any car sharing service, with more than 60,000 members and 1,500 vehicles in 11 states and provinces.
New members are joining Zipcar at the rate of more than 3,000 per month. Zipcar claims that studies show that each Zipcar is responsible for taking more than 20 privately owned vehicles off the road while also increasing use of public transit by 47%. Members also report that belonging to Zipcar saves them more than $435 per month when compared to car ownership, with those savings generally going back into the local community.