Car-sharing providers Zipcar and Flexcar will merge. The combined company will operate under the Zipcar brand and be headquartered in Cambridge, MA, led by Zipcar Chairman and CEO, Scott Griffith.
Zipcar and Flexcar currently operate car sharing programs, providing members with on-demand access to a diverse fleet of vehicles located throughout major metropolitan areas. To use the service, members reserve a vehicle online or via a mobile device, use a smartcard to open the doors, take their trip, and then return the car at the end of the reservation. An hourly or daily fee covers gas, insurance, maintenance, parking and 24-7 emergency service.
The merger comes at a time when car sharing is increasingly acknowledged as a smart urban lifestyle choice and transportation alternative. With growing competition within the industry, and more than 30 independent car sharing companies operating in the US alone, the combined Zipcar will have a stronger base from which to compete—particularly against leading car rental firms’ product introductions targeted at the car-sharing industry.
Zipcar currently operates in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto and London while Flexcar operates in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington DC Both companies provide car sharing on college campuses where traffic congestion and limited parking are frequent challenges.
Under the combined organization, members will access the vehicles through Zipcar’s Z3D technology. The proprietary platform fully connects the information flow between vehicles, members and Zipcar.com. Zipcar membership will enable the self-service reservation of any vehicle in any city in the combined Zipcar, Flexcar network simply by using the Zipcar.com website or mobile interface.
All members will be covered under an insurance plan with limits of $300,000 per accident.
National studies show that each shared car can replace up to 20 privately owned vehicles. Car sharing members report driving significantly less and are more likely to walk, bike, and use public transportation. Members also report savings of $500 or greater per month compared to the average cost of owning and operating a car in the city, and businesses have saved thousands of dollars by eliminating company fleets or augmenting their transportation offerings with car sharing programs.