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Monday, February 18, 2008

Zipcar replaces Flexcar around Atlanta

Zipcar Car-sharing Transportation Environment

We're all about passing on the good news reported on other notable blogs such as Decatur Metro, even if we're a little late in the game. If you're already a member of Flexcar, the car-sharing company that allows you to rent a trusty and clean automobile around town when it's convenient for you, this won't be breaking information.

Last October, Flexcar and Zipcar merged, with Zipcar becoming the new daddy of the two. If you're a Flexcar member, you should be receiving information and a new Zipcard in the mail. The switch is taking some time, but folks are reporting that the signs reserving Flexcar parking spots around town are slowly being swapped out.

There is some grumbling about the change. Over on the Citizens for Progressive Transit message board, one poster says Zipcar rates are 80 percent higher than Flexcar's and that he might not convert his account. Also out in the merger, another poster says, is Flexcar's policy of crediting members' accounts if they get the car washed. I put in a call with Zipcar's press people but haven't heard back from them.

Real quick about how Zipcar works: You sign up and pay an annual fee. Once you become a member, you can reserve the cars by the hour or by the day. If you want to pay by the hour, it's $9 to $11. For the day, it's usually around $66 to $77. Parking, gas, insurance and 180 miles of travel are included. A lot of the locations are based around MARTA stops, so Zipcar is an ideal choice for true public-transit aficionados.

To find Zipcar locations around town, click here. According to this interview with the Boston Globe, Zipcar partly bases its pricing system on parking costs in the participating cities. Atlanta's parking rates are really low — the city's one of the few metropolitan areas in the nation that lacks a parking tax. Proponents of the Peachtree Streetcar are hoping to change that and urge the General Assembly to enable the city to levy such a tax — they say it'll help offset or cover the estimated $6 million operating costs of the people-mover. Don't know how or if something like that would change Zipcar's rates if it came to pass.

(Photo courtesy of Zipcar)

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