Car sharing in a zip

March 25, 2008 4:29:39 PM PDT
Car sharing just got more competitive in Philadelphia.ZipCar arrived in Center City today and is ready o take over PhillyCarShare's stake as the city's car-share supplier.

"For people who live and work downtown who maybe own a car and probably shouldn't, or who don't own a car, they can use our cars by the hour or by the day," Kristina Kennedy, a ZipCar spokesperson, said.

How this works is you sign up with ZipCar at $25 a year. You get a ZipCar card in the mail and then at a moment's notice you can go on the Internet and reserve one of their cars, which are parked all over the city. You find where the car is located, unlock using the car reader on the windshield, and you are ready to go.

The main difference between ZipCar and PhillyCarShare is that PhillyCarShare charges you based on membership type, car model, and demand.

ZipCar charges a flat fee of $6.00 an hour, on top of the annual fee, regardless of which car you choose.

Also, if you sign on with ZipCar, your membership card is valid for use with any of their vehicles, anywhere in the world, including cities in Europe.

Those locations can be found on-line.

"You can view them by a location list that says the address of the car or you can click on view by map and it will show you a Google map of where the cars are," Kennedy said.

The other key difference is that ZipCar is a privately-owned company based in Massachusetts.

PhillyCarShare is a "non-profit" based in Philadelphia that reinvests all of its surplus back into maintaining the fleet.