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Zipcar on business in the South Waterfront

Zipcar is a carsharing service with roots, hundreds of cars and thousands of customers in the Portland area. The company's goal is to help people save money by owning fewer cars than they would otherwise have to.

Instead, Zipsters (as the company calls its members) typically pay $7 to $13 per hour for occasional access to shared cars parked on city streets. The prices include free gas and insurance. Day-long rentals, including up to 180 miles free driving, cost $72. Overnight rentals (6:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m.) cost $39.

Zipcar also manages shared on-site vehicles for employers, colleges and universities.


[edit] Heavy presence in Portland

As of September 2012, Zipcar operated more than 250 cars and 175 locations in at least 11 Portland neighborhoods. Vehicles include Toyota Prius and Altima hybrid sedans, utility vehicles like the Ford Escape and Toyota Tacoma, and luxury vehicles including the Audi A3 and the BMW 328.

In July 2010 the company opened a new office downtown at 739 SW 10th Ave, across the street from the central Multnomah County Public Library. General Manager Jeremy Nelson's phone number is 503-328-3539.

The company often sends sales representatives to neighborhood events in the Portland area.

[edit] Memberships and promotions

As of summer 2010, Zipcar memberships typically cost $50 a year plus a one-time $25 processing fee. Representatives offer promotions at local events and festivals almost every weekend, typically giving new customers the value of their membership fee in free driving during their first month of membership.

Many Portland apartments and condos offer annual Zipcar discounts to their residents. Zipcar provides that benefit at no cost to the building and its managers.

Zipcar's Portland Twitter feed regularly offers giveaways and promotions.

[edit] Local discounts for Portland Zipsters

In addition to various online discounts available using discount codes posted on Zipcar's members-only website, Portland-area Zipsters can receive the following local deals by showing their Zipcard:

  • Clever Cycles - $50 off the purchase of any bike at the family-oriented, practical bicycling shop.
  • Cloud Seven Cafe - Free cup of French press Intelligentsia coffee with the purchase of any pastry every Tuesday at Cloud Seven Cafe, 901 NW 10th Ave., from 7 to 10 a.m.
  • Milagros - 5% savings on all regular and sale priced items at the Milagros boutique of natural, fairly-made, recycled products for families, 5433 NE 30th Ave. (Can't be combined with other offers or coupons, and doesn't include gift certificate or online purchases.)
  • SuperDog - Through December 2011, get a free fountain soda when buying any hot dog at either of Portland's two SuperDog locations.
  • Ten Thousand Villages - 15% off any purchase of $20 or more at store for fairly traded gifts and home décor including Oriental rugs and recycled wood furniture, 914 NW Everett St. (Regularly priced merchandise only.)
  • Two Taquerias - Second meal of equal or lesser value free with any entree from Santa Fe or Aztec Willies.
  • Modo Boutique - 20% off purchases at Modo Boutique, with an eclectic mix of local, independent and unique designers.

[edit] "Zipcertificate" program

In the 2010 holiday season, soon after the expansion of Zipcar to many new universities, the company began offering gift certificates for Zipcar credit, starting at $50.

If a gift recipient does not apply or qualify to use Zipcar, the company refunds the gift certificate.

[edit] Roots in Portland

The first commercial car-sharing service in the United States, Car Sharing Portland, was founded in March 1998 by Dave Brook of Portland. In 2001 Brook sold his company to Seattle-based Flexcar, which was in turn bought by in 2007 by Boston-based Zipcar. Portland residents will still sometimes refer to Zipcar as Flexcar.

Portland was the first city in the country to give car-sharing companies free parking spaces on public streets. This has become a key element in the Zipcar business model.

[edit] Relationship with City of Portland

[edit] Contract for parking spaces

Though the Portland Bureau of Transportation was among the first in the country to offer free public parking for carsharing companies, it no longer does so in metered areas. As of March 2012, Zipcar was paying $197 a month ($2,364 per year) for each of 18 metered parking spaces, a total of $42,552 annually. This was based on average daily revenue per meter in the central business district.

As of that month, Zipcar was also using 132 non-metered city spaces. Zipcar also had dozens of parking spaces on private lots.

The city charged $324 per removal, installation or modification of an existing parking space, whether metered or unmetered.

[edit] Partnership to help charge electric vehicles

Zipcar is considering a deal with the City of Portland that would let electric vehicle owners who are also Zipcar members reserve time at one of several "fast chargers" around the city.

In a policy approved by Portland's city council in July 2010, the city described its goals:

Most EV users will charge their cars at home each night. However a significant number of homes, apartments and condominiums in Portland do not have the off-street parking that is generally required to install a home charging unit. The City believes every resident of Portland should have access to the benefits of EVs if they choose. This is why the City is exploring a first of its kind partnership with Zipcar. ... Under this potential program, EV owners that are Zipcar members could use Zipcar’s reservation technology to secure time at a fast charger in one of several central locations, potentially in City-owned garages. This unique partnership will allow EV owners to charge their cars at a time that is convenient for them, and do it in less than half an hour.

[edit] See also

[edit] News articles about Zipcar

[edit] External links

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