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Zipcar Car-Sharing Opens in San Francisco

Zipcar, the US’s largest self-service car-sharing company, announced that San Francisco is to become its first West Coast market. The company is expanding nationwide after securing its first institutional round of funding in July.

Zipcar anticipates a 1 September launch of operations in the city, and is currently taking applications for membership at a promotional rate of $50, plus a $25 driving credit to the account.

Zipcar says that it has more than doubled its membership over the past year, and that it is the first car-sharing service in North America to attain profitability in all of its markets.

As of July 2005, seventeen US car-sharing programs claimed 76,420 members sharing 1,192 vehicles, and 11 Canadian car-sharing operations claimed 11,932 members sharing 599 vehicles. (Innovative Mobility Research)

More than 40,000 of those are Zipcar members, giving Zipcar some 52% of the US market. Currently, more than 2,500 new members join the company each month.

The company’s fleet includes 700 vehicles (59% of the combined US car-sharing fleet) representing more than 20 different makes and models, including the Toyota Prius, MINI Cooper, Volkswagen Jetta, Mazda 3, BMW 325i, Scion xB, Ford Escape and the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

Members can reserve Zipcars online or by phone, 24 by 7, and have automated access to the vehicle using a “Zipcard” to simply unlock the door and drive away.

Rates in San Francisco will start at $8.50 per hour and $60 per day, with gas, parking, insurance and XM Satellite Radio service included.




I'm a big Zipcar fan, but I haven't figured out what makes them better than renting a car when you need one. Sure, it depends on what you need a car for, but when you include the annual fee, it makes more sense for me (a Bostonian) to just rent a car for the day if I need one, for something on the order of $20 plus [i]maybe[/i] $5 in gas.

I suppose if I had to do something on a regular basis (like, once a month drive out of town for a reoccuring appointment) it might make sense. I'm wondering if anybody on this site uses Zipcar, and how it works out for them...

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