Thought Repository


In the trend of plugging great new services I've discovered (like Rhapsody) I'd like to mention the latest. Zipcar is sort of a rental car service, but it feels more like sharing a car with a bunch of people. This company has many cars that live in designated spaces all over Boston. These spaces could be in anyones lot like the one down the street from me at the Star Market. Members of this service can go online or call and automated number to reserve a car for blocks of an hour or day at a time. Each member has a proximity card that will lock and unlock the car for you when you have a reservation. Just go pick it up, no human interaction is neccessary; any time of day or night! The cost is $8.50/hour (or $75/day) up to 125 miles and $0.18/mile after that. Gas is included, all you have to do is make sure to return it with more than a quarter tank. If you need to add gas they provide a card to pay for it! In addition to the driving cost, there is a $30 startup fee (for the driving record background check), $300 security deposite (you get it back when you are through with the service), and $30/month or $75/year minimum. What this means is that if you are on the monthly plan you must pay $30/month but this counts as a credit towards driving (which you lose if you don't use). But if you drive at least $30 in a month, then it is really just driving costs. However, MIT has a deal with them that as an MIT grad student, MIT pays the initial $30, MIT pays the $300 security fee, and the yearly cost to me is only $20/year. This is great because while it doesn't make sense for me to own a car while living in the city, I will at least have access to one when I need.