Zipcar first came into New Jersey with a few cars in Hoboken in 2002, and now they are the city’s official car share operator.
A ribbon-cutting this past Thursday, Sept. 17 marked the partnership – which entails Zipcar taking over Hoboken’s Corner Cars program from Hertz and placing 46 vehicles throughout the city.
“Zipcar is thrilled to be partnering with the City of Hoboken to expand its ‘wheels when you want them’ service,” said Anthony Fatone, regional general manager of Zipcar New York. “With each Zipcar eliminating the need for up to 15 personally owned vehicles, this partnership will help the city reduce congestion and alleviate parking demand.”
Those wanting to rent a Zipcar will put the time and date into their computer and choose from available cars. Insurance, gas, and 180 miles are included in the hourly and daily rates.
An online search revealed that a Zipcar from Monday through Thursday started at $14.75 per hour and $101 per day, and weekend rates — including just renting a car on Friday — start at $16.75 per hour and $164 per day. This was more than Hertz’s rates often were. When asked whether they were looking to decrease rates moving forward, Fatone said after a press conference on Thursday, “[As] part of the program we have cars at promotional rates, inexpensive rates that can be driven hourly.” He said that 25 to 30 percent of the fleet would be available to members at $9.75 an hour “to make sure we do offer an inexpensive vehicle.”
“Car sharing allows us to make very efficient use of extremely limited parking space.” – Dawn Zimmer
Hertz cut ties to Hoboken on Aug. 31 when they removed all their vehicles from the streets as part of phasing out their Hertz 24/7 car-sharing service nationwide. They had operated without a contract in Hoboken since April 2012.
The city feels Zipcar, which will also serve as a sponsor for the upcoming bike share program set to launch at the end of the month, will help lessen the city’s parking woes.
“It’s all about having transportation options,” Zimmer said. “I totally recognize that there are a lot of residents that need to drive and so we want to make it possible for them to find parking, but we’re also trying to create easy ways for them to get around the city.”
Pedal to the metal
Lindsay Wester, Zipcar’s public relations manager, added that key to the value of the new program is the perks of having a Zipcar membership, such as discounts from promotions.
During a City Council meeting on Aug. 7, it was revealed that Zipcar will pay more to the city than Hertz did in rent for its dedicated spaces. Hertz paid $100 per month per spot, whereas Zipcar will pay $150.
Current Corner Cars members must sign up for Zipcar to continue using the program but the company has promised to let these users waive the annual membership fee for the first year through a special promotion, with a onetime application fee.
Zimmer said, “The program allows many of our residents to save thousands of dollars per year by living with one fewer car or car-free. And with several thousand Corner Cars members sharing just a few dozen vehicles, car sharing allows us to make very efficient use of extremely limited parking space.”
Local businesses have the option of using the Zipcar for Business program for discounted driving rates throughout the week.
Steven Rodas can be reached at email@example.com.