Zipcar not so zippy? Competition is the key.

I wish the kids at The Stranger cared half as much about light rail as they do car sharing.

I’m a Zipcar member too, and I’ve had plenty of access to cars since their switch-over. But they’re a private company trying to make money in this dog-eat-dog world. I feel bad for all of you balloon-headed PCC members who got your special rate eliminated, or you college kids who lost your special UW rate…

You got issues, I got tissues.

Ten and a half bucks an hour is not a sin against God. It’s still cheaper than buying a car, fixing it, and parking it. I loved Flexcar, and I like Zipcar too. That said, carless folks aren’t entitled to car sharing at cheap rates any more than folks with cars are entitled to cheap gas and parking. If you don’t like your options, do a couple of things:

1.) Expand mass transit in the city.

2.) Start a non-profit alternative JUST for Capitol Hill.

3.) Buy a plug-in hybrid for the neighborhood, and then charge people to use it.

If Zipcar is living too high on the hog, then maybe they need competition.


  1. 9

    GS spews:

    I don’t want to have to move my fuzzy Rabbit hair dice from car to car.

    It’s alot cheaper than $10.50 an hour to own your own car, and one hell of a lot more less hassle too!

  2. 12

    ArtFart spews:

    Ten and a half bux an hour? You almost might as well rent a “ziptruck” from Home Depot.

  3. 13

    ArtFart spews:

    There’s a guy where I work who has a Miata he converted to electric power. (He did a hell of a nice job, as a matter of fact.) He used to drive it to work until the company changed hands and the new management told him he couldn’t plug it in at work to recharge it.

  4. 14


    Will is completely right. There’s nothing more pathetic than an aging hipster complaining about for-profit business trying to make money.

    What if they didn’t want ot make money, would zip car even exist?

    As a hard-core liberal, I hate the whiney side of our family.

  5. 15

    jsa on beacon hill spews:


    Part of the deal with Zipcars is that they are close to where people live. I’m not in the Zipcar program (I own a car, and don’t use it all that much for short-haul or commuting) but if I was, it would be a two-block walk to the Beacon Hill Red Apple to pick up a Zipcar.

    If I wanted to get the truck from the Home Despot, that’s quite a haul.

  6. 17

    Little Lord Fauntleroy spews:

    re 16: Same here. I got a laugh from my wife out of the t-rex arms thing, too.

    Keep ‘em comin’ Will.

  7. 18


    T-rex arms, that was good. I expect to see the PI or Times start referring to him that way as well.
    It’s contagious.

  8. 19

    bma spews:

    Hey, that’s fine that they cut all of those special rates, but in that case, I no longer support the idea that they should get a break from the rental tax. If they are a “private business”, they should be able to survive as such under the regulation, right?

    And for me, what’s the point? If I’m going to be somewhere for more than two hours, I’ll just take a taxi. They had a niche, and changing the pricing structure in this way is really screwing with that.

  9. 20

    SeattleJew spews:

    I had not realized this led t effin up the UW deal!

    I have nticed that the UW has its own rental car system now n campus now .. this must be why.

    I am not as comfy as you are with 10/hr. That seems to favor long trips rather than cab rides etc. I wonder if this was an effort NOT to competer with cabs?

  10. 21

    ewp spews:

    Go buy yourself a nice used Vespa. Cost to insure, $100 per year, $5 to fill it up, get’s between 65 and 90 mpg, and it’s easy to find parking. The ideal low cost transportation solution for those tired of waiting around for better public transit.

  11. 22

    uptown spews:

    Maybe it’s time to stop subsidizing on street parking (land use cost, maintenance, water runoff). Charge for overnight parking (it costs me $60 a month for a private spot) and put the money into mass transit.

  12. 23

    zip spews:

    Hey uptown,
    You’re not subsidizing a thing. Ever heard of a “storm water utility tax?” I didn’t think so.

  13. 24


    Zipcar is just one animal, in the current ecosystem, in which our rights of way are “occupied” i.e. preempted by very dysfunctional road and vehicle choices of past generations.

    The State should maintain a comprehensive mathematical model of *all* movement demand: every trip origin and destination, both people and materials. This model should be pure science, with geographic coordinates, by time of day, with supply/demand curves for at least three things: urgency i.e. speed and response-time, cost, and privacy tolerance…

    Only empirical requirement model can end our arguments. It becomes possible to compare solutions.
    And the answer would probably be smaller vehicles than the Smart Car, with their own dedicated lanes, tunnels and bridges and parking, which could be very safe, cheap and fast.