Zipcar: Destroying Monogamy
I’ve been practicing driving on the narrow streets of Brooklyn, though I try to avoid doing so most of the time. It’s not really necessary to drive often, because of the plentiful public transportation; I also have bad memories of that night in a MINI Cooper (another story, lads). But on those rare nights when I want to gallivant around Red Hook, make a Target run, or just go “cruisin,” I turn to my trusty Zipcar car-share. I log onto Zipcar.com, reserve a smokin’ Toyota Matrix and I’m on my way.
The concept of car-sharing has certainly gained popularity over the past few years. I first heard of car-sharing in California and thought it was merely a hippie phenomenon. However, Zipcar has spread from Albuquerque to Milwaukee to my neighborhood in the span of a few years. If Zipcar, and others like it, are successful, it will be because of the positive aspects of car-sharing as well as an easy to use web interface.
At Zipcar.com, I find my nearest Zipcar garage and see what cars are available at what time on the time-line. If my Matrix is already reserved, it is marked with the color gray. If I reserve it, my time shows up as green. Simple, absolutely. Click on the car of your choice and you see more details: cost, special features, etc. I only wish I could return my car early for credit instead of having to overestimate usage, or worse, pay a fine.
Can we learn to share the most our most prized possession, our identity as red-blooded Americans? In spite its great service and easy to use website, Zipcar assumes that we are willing to give away this one-on-one relationship. Zipcar offers a new type of experience, not exclusive, but open. My Matrix can see other people if it wants. It even has a name: “Mantilla.” But then again, I can drive other cars as well. I’ve had my eye on “Micklos,” a red MINI. I guess this could work out.