Saturday, January 23, 2010

Zip It

We recently decided that we don't need a car.

In my previous life this would be out of the question. In the suburbs you need a car to do everything. Walking is considered a suspicious activity. But here, in the city, with Dave's studio ten minutes away, and all kinds of public transportation nearby, there is very little need to own a car, which we calculated (all in) to cost approximately $27.00 a day. It's pretty hard to spend more than that on transportation, especially when you don't need to find a ride everyday because, as we discovered, we have these things called feet which really do get you where you need to go and also help keep your gym expenses down.

So we have feet, we have public transit and then there are zip cars.

Zip Car is a great idea - an affordable car that city folk can rent by the hour. They are located all over the city in various parking areas. In fact there are two right behind our condo. There are many different kinds of Zip Cars, offering various rates - your standard econo car would be about $12 an hour and other, fancier makes like BMW's cost considerably more (but don't have a ZipCar sticker on them so come in handy when you want to make a great first impression and start a relationship off right with a lie.) This cost includes gas, mileage, etc. So it seems like a great solution for short day trips and it would be if not for the fact that real people use these cars, and as evidenced by the condition of buses, subways, and rental apartments, people don't tend to take care of things they do not own.

So, sometimes Zip Cars are dirty, smelly and furry. Sometimes they are left with barely the mandatory 1/4 tank of gas. And sometimes, they are brought back late causing you to wait in the cold at the time you are supposed to pick up the car. The late charge is $35.00 and I guess that's not enough to entice people to be prompt because there are a lot of complaints about tardiness on the ZipCar Facebook page.

And this is sad because of course this means that rules will be tightened and yet another carefree easy thing will become overly regulated and soon there will be ZipPolice who will hunt you down in their little ZipPolice Cruisers and give you Ziptations for whatever violation they find you guilty of. They will wear white gloves and carry smoke detectors. They might even have tasers, but they will be rentals.

And these ZipPolice will be even worse than Mall Cops. They will have uniforms, people, need I say more? One day an auto mechanic, the next day The Man.

Then there will be ZipLitigation processes in which you can dispute your ZipCharge and hopefully clean your ZipRecord so that you will be able to get your ZipLicense back. Sometimes on first offenses the sentence will be reduced to community service which will include cleaning of the ZipCars which is such nasty business you'll opt to do time instead.

And all this because people can't follow rules and take care of things they do not own.

And when all this happens, People Who Can't Follow Rules, don't come cryin to me.


  1. I love this idea. I wish they had them in Colorado. It's virtually impossible if you live in the 'burbs here to get anywhere without a car.

  2. Yeah, I know! This is the first time in my life I lived in the city. I read an article once in which the author claimed that if you got rid of your car you could afford to take a $10,000 (or maybe more) cut in your salary, which could then (according to him) perhaps make it possible to work closer to home. I think this might be true....(car, insurance, gas, maintenance, taxes)

  3. I would totally do this if we didn't have the kid. I wonder where the hell this service was when I lived in D.C. and had to rent a car to go to Target...

  4. Libby - wow, expensive trip to target. Yeah zip cars are a wonderful invention - I just hope people don't fuck it up.


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