Today I tried something new. I used a ZipCar for the first time. And it was great. It was easy. It was even fun.
I needed to run some errands, specifically I needed cat supplies (food and litter). So I asked a couple of friends that I know don’t have cars if they had any errands they needed to run and wanted to come with me. Turns out one friend, EM, needed to go to Ikea, and Plum and Seuss needed pet supplies AND a trip to Ikea. A plan was born. I figured having friends along might make the errands much more fun, too (and I was right!).
I made the reservation on Saturday evening for the following afternoon. There were several cars nearby to choose from, and I decided on a Mazda 3 4-door sedan. Plenty of car options. I liked how the system showed me when a car was available, and when it was already reserved, so I could choose one that gave me plenty of flexibility. Seeing the whole day laid out allowed me to pick my time so I wasn’t butting up against someone else’s reservation.
We all met at the car on Sunday afternoon, and just like that we were on our way! The car took a bit of getting used to (hello, jerky stop and start), but once I got the hang of how it handled, it ended up being really fun to drive. I’ve been so used to my Subaru it was striking to drive a different car. And I enjoyed it.
We went to PetSmart for supplies, and then on to Ikea for a late lunch and some wandering. I had given us lots of time so we didn’t have to rush. Still, despite my generous reservation, we realized we weren’t going to make it. The lines at Ikea were insane (way worse than normal…guess the horrible humid heat drove everyone inside for the afternoon), and then we hit traffic from the baseball game on our way out. Sitting there in stadium traffic, I started to try and calculate if we had enough time or not.
I had turned on the text alerts, so 30 minutes before the reservation expired ZipCar let me know. We were still sitting in traffic. The text alert helpfully told me how much longer the car was available (i.e. when the next reservation started). We had plenty of time to extend the reservation. So I had my friend EM text ZipCar back to extend by 30 minutes. A couple of seconds later we got a confirmation, DONE. No problem. It was so incredibly easy and convenient, and instantly I was able to relax and stop stressing. I love that not only did the text alert tell me that it was available longer, it even included the instructions on how to text for an extension.
And just to make my ZipCar experience complete, we hit the 1/4 mark on the tank of gas when we were in the home stretch. Since we were passing a couple of gas stations, I figured OK, let’s fill ‘er up. I used the card provided, plugged in the mileage and my member number, and filled the tank. Easy peasy. Really. Other than the challenge of remember a number long enough to punch it in, it was painless. I dropped off my friends, and returned the car with 10 minutes to spare.
I had never thought that using a car-sharing program would be this easy. It was convenient, simple, and very user-friendly. So kudos to ZipCar. I could get used to this.