Is Zipcar Worth It? – Review, Membership-Based City Car Share Program

Zipcar is a membership-based car sharing program which provides users with access to cars for short periods of time. Zipcars are located in densely populated urban areas, and the service offers an alternative to traditional car rental services or owning a vehicle. This article reviews the benefits and drawbacks of using this type of car share program to determine whether it is worth it.

The first paragraph will discuss what Zipcar is, and how it works as a way to get around within cities without actually owning or renting a car. It will outline some of the advantages that come with joining such a program including convenience, cost savings, environmental friendliness and flexibility. The second paragraph will look at potential downsides associated with Zipcar use such as restrictive usage policies, limited availability outside core city centers and high fees compared to other forms of transportation. Finally, the third paragraph will analyze these pros and cons together to provide readers with insight into whether they should consider signing up for Zipcar’s membership-based service.

Overall, Zipcar offers many advantages for those who need occasional access to vehicles in urban environments but don’t want the hassle or expense of purchasing or renting their own. However, there are also several disadvantages that must be taken into account when evaluating its value proposition. By reviewing both sides objectively, readers can make informed decisions about whether joining Zipcar is worth it for them personally.


Overview Of The Service

Zipcar is a membership-based car sharing program that serves major cities in the United States, Canada and Europe. It provides convenient access to cars for rent on an hourly or daily basis without having to own one outright. The service offers flexible rates with no long-term commitment and there are several ways to pay for usage. Members can reserve cars online, through the mobile app or by phone. Zipcars come with insurance coverage and discounted gas cards for refilling fuel tanks; however, members must be at least 21 years of age with a valid driver’s license to use the service.

The company has over 1 million members who have rented more than 2 million times since its founding in 2000. There are currently over 10,000 Zipcars available around the world and they offer vehicles from various brands such as Ford, BMW, Honda and Toyota. Car availability varies depending on location but typically includes compacts, sedans and SUVs.


Advantages And Disadvantages Of Zipcar

Zipcar is a membership-based city car share program that has become increasingly popular. The main advantage of using Zipcar is the convenience it offers, as members can reserve cars online in advance and unlock them with their smartphone or member card. There are also numerous locations to pick up and drop off vehicles across cities, making it easy for people who need to travel quickly within urban areas. Additionally, Zipcar rates are typically lower than traditional rental companies due to the lack of long-term contracts or additional fees associated with hourly rentals.

However, there are some disadvantages to using Zipcar as well. Since rental periods start at 30 minutes, users may end up paying more if they use the service for longer times than expected. Furthermore, availability of vehicles can be limited during peak hours or when special events occur in certain locations; this could make finding a vehicle difficult for those who plan on taking impromptu trips. Finally, there are other costs involved such as fuel charges which must be paid by the user prior to returning the car.


Cost Considerations

When determining if a membership-based city car share program such as Zipcar is worth it, cost considerations must be taken into account. Membership fees are typically charged on an annual basis and vary depending on the level of use desired. The basic plan includes a one-time joining fee of $25 and an annual fee of $60 plus per minute/hourly rates for each rental. This option allows drivers to pay only when they use the service. For those who desire more frequent access to the vehicles, there are discounted plans with higher monthly or yearly fees that offer additional savings over time.

In addition to membership fees, there are also other associated costs including fuel charges, taxes, tolls, insurance coverage and late return penalties. Fuel charges may be billed in addition to usage fees and can add significantly to total costs for longer trips. Charges for taxes and tolls must also be paid by members prior to returning the vehicle. Insurance coverage options may include personal auto policies or optional coverage from Zipcar itself which would have to be purchased separately at an added cost. Lastly, late returns will incur fines that could affect overall budgeting decisions when considering this type of transportation alternative.


How To Sign Up And Use The Service

Once an individual or business has determined that Zipcar is worth the cost, they can proceed to sign up for membership. The process is simple and straightforward; first, applicants must create a personal Zipcar account online. Then, they select their preferred membership plan – options include “Pay As You Go” and monthly memberships with various levels of access – and complete payment information. After the application is approved, new members will receive their Zipcard in the mail within four to seven days.

Using Zipcar is also easy: after obtaining membership, users simply reserve a car on the website or mobile app. When it’s time to pick up their vehicle, they use the provided Zipcard to unlock it directly from their smartphone or scan it at the reader located near the windshield of each car. Once inside, all necessary controls are clearly labeled and accessible without any special knowledge required. Finally, when finished driving, customers return the car to its designated spot and lock it using either method mentioned above.

To summarize, signing up for and using Zipcar involves these steps:

  1. Create an account online
  2. Select a membership plan
  3. Receive Zipcard via mail
  4. Reserve a vehicle through website/app
  5. Unlock & drive car with provided Zipcard
  6. Return vehicle & lock with card/smartphone

Zipcar makes getting around town easier than ever before; those who decide this service fits their needs will find no difficulty in navigating both the sign-up process as well as operating vehicles once obtained.


Alternatives To Zipcar

There are many alternatives to Zipcar, a membership-based city car share program. These include peer-to-peer car rental services like Turo and Getaround, traditional rental companies such as Enterprise and Hertz, short term leases through Flexdrive, and public transportation options including buses and trains. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed when deciding which is the best option for one’s needs.

Advantages  Disadvantages 
Peer-to-Peer Low cost;

Variety of vehicles

Unpredictable availability
Traditional Rental Companies Convenient locations;

Established brand name

 Short Term Leases Lower commitment than long term lease Limited selection
Public Transportation   Inexpensive; Accessible in most cities Long travel time

When choosing between Zipcar or any other alternative option available, it is important to consider factors such as budget, convenience, vehicle selection, and frequency of use. Through careful research into all potential solutions, an individual can determine the ideal choice for their particular situation.


Final Thoughts

In summation, Zipcar is a membership-based city car share program that provides an affordable and convenient way to use cars for short trips. While there are certainly alternatives to Zipcar, this service offers many benefits such as low hourly rates and even lower weekly rates for members. Additionally, the ability to reserve vehicles online or through the mobile app makes it very easy to book a vehicle when needed. Furthermore, with no need of contracts or deposits, signing up for Zipcar is fast and simple.

The drawbacks of using Zipcar include a limited selection of vehicles available in certain areas, possible fees if returning late or not cleaning up after yourself, and additional costs associated with gas refilling and parking meters. However, despite these disadvantages, overall Zipcar remains an attractive option for those wanting access to regular transportation at an economical price point.



Zipcar is a membership-based city car share program that provides an alternative to traditional vehicle ownership. It offers convenience, affordability, and ease of use for those in need of transportation on an occasional basis. With the right plan, it can be a great way to save money while having access to a car when needed.

When evaluating whether Zipcar is worth it or not, one must consider all available options. For some individuals needing short-term access to vehicles, renting from rental agencies may be cheaper than joining Zipcar; however, if long-term access or frequent usage is required then Zipcar could be more economical. Additionally, other alternatives such as public transportation, ride sharing services like Uber/Lyft, and bike sharing programs should also be taken into consideration before choosing what works best for one’s needs.

Overall, Zipcar can offer many benefits for people wanting flexibility and cost savings without the hassle of owning or maintaining their own car. By weighing the various costs associated with each option against individual requirements and preferences, it is possible to determine if this service is right for them. Ultimately, understanding how Zipcar works and assessing potential financial impacts are essential steps towards deciding if using this service will provide value in meeting personal transportation needs.

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