Ridesharing and carsharing has been made popular by Millennials, but it’s safe to say that it has taken off from there and is universally known about and used by people of all ages. There are many benefits to carsharing. It’s friendlier to the environment than car ownership and depending on how often you rely on a vehicle, it can be less expensive than car ownership. While ridesharing is similar to a taxi service, carsharing allows you to drive on your own. Services like Zipcar allow you to pick up a car at a predetermined location, use it for the length of your reservation, and return it. There are other carsharing companies and Zipcar alternatives that allow you to use a car when you need one. If you prefer ridesharing, but want the freedom to drive yourself around, there are plenty of services like Zipcar that will save you time and money.
Before we look at Zipcar alternatives, let’s discuss Zipcar. This innovative service is available in hundreds of cities around the world. You’re most likely to find them on college campuses and in urban areas. As long as you have a good driving record and you’re older than 21 (18 if you are a student at a partnering college) you should be cleared to get your Zipcard. You choose the right membership for you and then when you need a car you can reserve it for as long as you need it.
Basics of Zipcar
- Apply for a membership and get your Zipcard
- Reserve the car you want for the time you need it
- Pick it up at your reservation time and drop it off when you’re done
- Go on about your day!
Among the many benefits to Zipcar, you won’t have to pay for gas (there’s a gas card in the car), insurance (each car is covered), or maintenance. It’s also cheaper than using ridesharing services, especially if you need to go multiple places in one day. And, with a 30-day risk-free trial, you don’t have anything to lose in trying it. While Zipcar is definitely a leader in the carsharing industry, there are some alternatives to Zipcar that are equally as good.
Other Services like Zipcar – Car2Go, Maven, & Enterprise Car Share
Zipcar might be our favorite (you can read our Zipcar review, here), but there are several Zipcar alternatives out there. If Zipcar is not yet in your area, you might find that one of these other services is. Three of the most popular Zipcar alternatives are Car2Go, Maven, and Enterprise Car Share. Depending on what your needs are, any of these services might be a perfect match for you.
Car2Go works pretty similarly to Zipcar. However, there is some differences. With Car2go you use your app to find available cars in a designated operating area. You’re able to select any of the cars in the area. When you bring the car back you can park anywhere in the area, too. So, no need to worry about specifics. As long as you’re in the area you’re good. Insurance and maintenance is covered on every vehicle. You don’t even have to refuel. All that’s covered for you! One way that Car2Go differs from other Zipcar alternatives is that you don’t need to reserve a car for a set amount of time. If a car is available, you can take it. With Car2Go your only expense is the exact time you’re in the car. You can take a trip for a few minutes or a whole day.
- No membership fees
- No need to make a reservation just grab an approved car and go
- Only pay for the time you’ve got the car
On the downside, Car2Go is not in many markets, at this time. While they are global and present in numerous countries, in the US only a handful of cities offer Car2Go currently.
Another carsharing service controlled primarily by app is Maven. Like Car2Go there are no membership fees or application fees. However, Maven, like Zipcar, does require a reservation. Once you find the car near you that suits your needs on the map, you use your phone to unlock it. With Maven everything is controlled by your phone and with technology. When you’re done, just bring the car back and lock it up. No additional fees other than the reservation will occur.
Trips are as low as $8 an hour with additional taxes. Maven offers a wide variety of vehicles that will suit almost every need. You can reserve an electric car or an SUV. The main problem with Maven tends to be the general availability. You will find Maven in a handful of major cities, but if you live anywhere else you won’t be able to use this service.
- No Annual fee + free lifetime membership
- Large variety of vehicles
- Reasonable hourly rates
Enterprise Car Share
Enterprise Car Share works pretty similar to the other Zipcar alternatives that have been mentioned. You do need to pay a membership and application fee with Enterprise Car Share. Once you’re approved you use your computer or mobile app to reserve a car the moment you need one. You can reserve the car for a full day if you want or just take it for an hour. You pick it up and drop it off in the same parking area. Once you’ve reserved a car you’ll receive an email with all the details you need and a map to the car you chose. The main problem here, other than a higher cost due to membership fees, is that Enterprise Car Share is only available in a few cities.
Enterprise Car Share Benefits
- Cheaper than traditional rentals or owning a car
- No having to pay for gas, insurance, or other car-related expenses
- Good selection of vehicles including cargo vans
As you can see, there are a variety of Zipcar alternatives. All of them offer their own benefits. The biggest downside to most of them are that they are limited in the areas where you’ll find them. These companies are likely to continue to grow, so if they are not in your area now, keep an eye out for them in the future.