Does anyone have any input on the use of Zipcar? — Brooklynian

Does anyone have any input on the use of Zipcar?

edited 5:59PM in Gowanus

I am thinking of joining to use regularly 2 t 3 times a week. The $$ sounds about right. Is this a reliable system

Thank you, Gio


  • I've not used it in about a year, but in general, I found that I needed to book at least a few days in advance to get specific cars on weekdays, maybe weeks in advance for a weekend, and way more in advance for holiday weekends. That was to get a car in Park Slope or not too far away. If I wasn't picky (say, didn't need space or was okay with the pricier cars), I could sometimes get a last minute car on weekdays, but often only for a few hours.

    If you have a schedule of when you'll need one or are kind of flexible, it can probably work.

  • It may be somewhat easier to get a car now that AVIS bought them some months back. They're supposed to juggle their fleets to whichever entity needs cars more at a given time. But the locations might not be that convenient.

  • Thank you!

  • I just signed up -- I got in on a promotion. I think it's a good deal and really convenient. Plus they foot the bill for gas. I have been able to book a car an hour ahead of time with no trouble during the week (at the parking garage on Flatbush and Plaza St West).

    A few key things to bear in mind: you need to call the garage or facility an hour ahead of time. The attendants at the ramp nearest me are pretty grumpy and unhelpful -- just make sure you understand what is expected of you beforehand.

    Perhaps most important thing to consider: If you are not accustomed to driving or parking in NYC, it can be a huge hassle. The second time I used a Zipcar, I got into a very minor fender bender while parallel parking (it basically happened at 0 mph). Police did not assign blame in the case, but the damage that was done occurred in the other car (the bumper). Because I waived extra coverage, I am liable for up to $750 for damage to the other vehicle. It's not likely to be that high, but I am bummed. Moral of the story is that accidents can and do happen!

  • I'm not a member but my freind is. He booked a car for us to go LI one day over the summer. The only car was available was over by Kings County Hospital. Also we didn't get the car for as long as we wanted it. The pick up and drop off process was simple and smooth enough. He told me you have to get the car a week or two weeks in advance and even then getting one close by can be problematic. Some other friends use Enterprise CarShare which seems to have significantly more cars close by but is more expensive. Honestly I'd look at Enterprise first despite the cost.

  • Psbklyn, check the fringe benefits of your credit cards. My Visa and Mastercard each offers automatic insurance for damage to rental cars... I haven't looked, but the insurance may also cover damage caused by rental cars.

  • Thanks, booklaw. Unfortunately the promotion entailed getting $55 credit in the first month, so the transaction wasn't actually charged to my credit card on file -- it was zeroed out!

    Separately, to newguy88's point, I imagine that it is harder to book zipcars during the summer, holidays, etc., requiring more planning and advance notice -- kind of contrary to their motto "wheels when you need them," which seems to be more about spontaneity. But up until my little accident, I found that there was no advance notice needed whatsoever with a number of cars available during the week.

  • I've been a member for a few years. The closest location is a few blocks from me, and one more location was added last year at the end of my street.

    Re: Booking on weekends - Do it early (i.e. by midweek to be safe).

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