New Car-Sharing Options
Enterprise and U-Haul have recently launched car-sharing programs -- rent a car by the hour, gas and insurance included.
Our fair city has hosted car-sharing programs -- first Flexcar and Zipcar, then just Zipcar -- for years, but Enterprise and U-Haul are joining the party now too. Let's look at the new kids on the block:
U-Haul's program, called U Car Share, allows members to rent a car (not just a moving van) by the day or hour, picking it up and returning it to U Haul locations only. (By contrast, Zipcars are sprinkled throughout the city and suburbs.) U-Haul is now operating in twelve metro areas: Ann Arbor, Mich.; Austin, Tex.; Berkeley, Calif.; Boston; Chicago; College Station, Penn.; Madison, Wis.; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Seattle and Washington, DC. There are five U Car Share locations near Washington, all of them in Maryland and some Metro-accessible: in Hyattsville (near the W. Hyattsville Metro), Rockville (near the White Flint Metro), Marlow Heights, Suitland (right by Andrews Air Force Base) and Gaithersburg. Rentals start at $10/hr, $65/day and all the cars are PT Cruisers, though the company plans to diversify its fleet sometime soon. Charges: $25 application fee, $50 annual fee.
Besides the current scarcity of locations, the other major downside is the 125-mile allowance per rental period, meaning U Car Share trips have to be kept close to home.
Enterprise's program, WeCar, follows a similar model except for one big difference: It's only available to corporate clients. That means that unless your workplace or college has a contract with WeCar, no WeCar for you. Which is too bad, because WeCar's fleet includes the Toyota Prius; at WeCar member Washington University (St. Louis), a Prius rents for $10/hour. Of course, the included insurance probably wouldn't cover the cost of keying.
One interesting tidbit about WeCar: Since Enterprise is based in St. Louis, it's testing a public car-sharing program there. With a $35 annual membership fee and cars for $10/hour, it's possible that frequent St. Louis visitors who occasionally need to make car trips might benefit from joining.
Both U Car Share and WeCar are in their infancy, so we'll keep an eye out for more developments with these and other car-sharing programs. In the meantime, I'm sticking with Zipcar. Two cars parked around the corner from my building means an impromptu trip to the 'burbs is always an option.
Has anyone tried out either U Car Share or WeCar? Anyone planning to sign up?
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Jeff | October 1, 2008 10:51 AM
Posted by: Tom | October 1, 2008 7:48 PM
Posted by: Le Bullet | October 3, 2008 1:47 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.