Zipcar is Awesome

I’ve got another final due tomorrow, is it obvious I’m procrastinating? But seriously, if your city has Zipcar and you don’t have wheels, I highly recommend using their service. I chose them over CityCarShare and FlexCar and I’ve been really satisfied. Just last weekend, I rented a Volvo for 2 days and safely headed up to Napa. Tomorrow, I’m renting a Mazda 3 and using it to get to Stanford and back (and my employer is footin’ the bill!).

Zipcar has both hourly rates ($8.75-13) and day rates ($65-95) and all of the rates include insurance and gas. Access to the car is granted via a membership card that’s somehow connected to satellites. When you swipe your card on the designated area, it communicates with the company’s dbs, finds out if you’ve reserved the car and, if so, unlocks the doors. From there, the key is hangin out and you plug in and go. So far, I’ve driven a couple Prius(es), some Mazdas, a convertible Musky-stang, a Volvo, those funky looking Scion xB’s and now I’ve got my eye on their Mini rentals. All of the cars have XM radio too which is cool.

Their setup is incredible, everything is automated, even reporting a dirty car. One time, some crazy person left a bunch of bird seed and some feathers in the backseat. I didn’t want to be charged for that mess so I called, pressed like 5,4,2 & left a message. Everything was taken care of and I didn’t even talk to anyone.

I was looking up something on the FAQ’s today and came across this.. I love their style.

Can I smoke in a Zipcar?

No, never.* That’s a bit like asking if you can take a knife to the leather or pour milk in the CD player — also no’s. Smoking damages our Zipcars and can impact the health of other members who may be allergic to it. And aside from the guilt of having potentially harmed the lungs of another Zipster, we’ll charge you for the cost of cleaning the car to make it completely smoke free.

*Oh, holding a cigarette outside the car while driving is STILL considered smoking in the car. There are members (maybe even the allergic ones) who will report fellow users for doing these things. Just sayin’.

They some knee slappers, them. Ohh my servers are here, time to pick them up!

Chrissy is a PowerShell MVP who has worked in IT for nearly 20 years, and currently serves as a Sr. Database Engineer in Belgium. Always an avid scripter, she attended the Monad session at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles back in 2005 and has worked and played with PowerShell ever since. Chrissy is currently pursuing an MS in Systems Engineering at Regis University and helps maintain RealCajunRecipes.com in her spare time. She holds a number of certifications, including those relating to SQL Server, SuSE Linux, SharePoint and network security. She recently became co-lead of the SQL PASS PowerShell Virtual Chapter. You can follow her on Twitter at @cl.

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2 comments on “Zipcar is Awesome
  1. zac says:

    hey y’all
    Zipcar has a dedicated Cingular WWAN modem in each car hardwired to the onboard computer.
    The membership cards have an embedded contactless RFID chip which the car computer reads.
    It then queries the DB over the cellular uplink and unlocks the car.
    Using the GPS it sends the current car location back to the servers, as well as timestamp.
    During the course of the rental it heartbeat pings back to ‘home base’ giving GPS coordinates and timestamps over the cellmodem.
    And that’s how it works :)

  2. Martin B says:

    Chrissy,

    I use City Car Share ($4/$2 hour, $.44 mile). Also pretty neat, and they use a system with an RFID dongle that you swipe past the windshield of the car. They concentrate on hybrid and gas-sipping cars, with the exception of a couple MINI Cooper cars they have for fun.

    Pretty fun, all told though. I believe the City CarShare cars also use a WWAN modem hidden behind the console with a small dedicated/embedded PC.

    Fun tech.

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