Zipcar was formerly known as Streetcar, and is one of the most popular car-sharing clubs based in the UK. The larger chunk of their services is in the United Kingdom, but they have already opened in the US, Canada, and in Austria.

Zipcar’s car sharing service is strictly for members only. Becoming a member involves a long process of sending identification and driving certifications, taking a test, sending over bank details, and some amount of waiting. Despite going through the process, membership is not guaranteed – even as an additional driver for an existing member.

Membership costs usually vary by location and membership is locked-in for a 12-month period. Payment can be made in one go or monthly. The fact that the minimum sign up period is one year is often overlooked by applicants and new members, so it is important to make sure you read through the fine print of their contract before joining.

Adding a driver to an existing membership requires a monthly membership that’s normally half of what the main member pays. All the fees are charged to the customer’s credit card.

The membership fee covers for mileage of 60 miles per booking, insurance coverage, plus fuel for 60 miles of usage. It also covers costs for toll fees where they apply (usually in the US) and congestion charges in London.

Zipcar’s exclusivity is best symbolized by the Zipcard. The cards are sent through the post to each new member. This Zipcard is used to unlock and lock the rented cars while bookings are made via the Zipcar mobile application.

Unlike car rental companies, the rates for renting a Zipcar are mostly charged by the hour. Although daily rates are available, not all Zipcar locations carry them especially in cities outside the UK. The rates vary according to the location, car model, and even particular days of the week – peak days like Mondays, weekends, and holidays are almost always more expensive.

Because it works mainly through the Zipcar app, a lot of people love it for its convenience. It does not require falling in line for a car and you can even book a car within an hour of picking it up. Customers are also more likely to book a car that’s parked close to their location. Despite the noble intentions, the car club is not without its dissenters.

Many online reviewers have pointed out how much more expensive the service has got since Zipcar took over Streetcar four years ago. While using Zipcar seems convenient, many members are opting to just reserve cars for emergencies, city trips, and hour-long bookings because of the high prices. In fact, many members are recommending the use of traditional car rental services for longer trips because it would cost much, much less than using Zipcar.

A lot of other users are also commenting on the lack of transparency on how memberships are being admitted and rejected. The membership application is a long, long process that does not come with guarantees. And according to some rejected applicants, the result does not always come with clear reasons as to why the application was rejected either.

It is also worth mentioning how many people have complained about Zipcar’s allegedly poor customer service. These were complaints coming from already disgruntled and dissatisfied customers who were either looking for a refund or settling a technical dispute with the company.

Despite the backlash and poor online rating, however, Zipcar remains to be one of the prime options for car sharing, especially in the UK.

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