Wheels When You Want Them

Zipcar Targets College Students by Adding More Convenient Locations

The days of being unable to rent a car unless you’re 25- years-old and being restricted to being charged for the entire day are over.  Enter Zipcar. 

"Zipcar is a great amenity for Howard students, as it allows for greater mobility throughout the city,"said Stephanie Holland, a Howard University student and marketing intern for Zipcar.

Renting a car from Zipcar has many benefits besides being able to rent by the hour.  Zipcars come in a wide variety of types ranging from Volkswagon Beetles to BMWs to SUVs and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year because the entire process is self-service.  The reservation process is done entirely online and the car pick-up locations are located within blocks of the customer, making it more efficient and convenient than regular rental car companies.

Prices range from as little as $7.50 an hour to as much as $65 daily, which includes gas, reserved parking and insurance.  The company specifically looks to cater to college students with car locations located on most of the DC area college campuses, including a location at Howard University’s Howard Plaza Towers, and allows renters to be as young as 21 years of age to rent a car with no additional fees.

"The cars at Howard have been among our busiest almost from the get-go," said Zipcar’s regional director of marketing Adam Johnson who also said that more cars will soon be added to Howard’s Zipcar location that already includes three cars: a Honda Accord, Toyota Martrix and a Volkswagen Golf.

Jamall Blake, a senior economics student at Howard University, has used Zipcar in the past and found that it made sense economically, as well as efficiently.

"Zipcar came in handy when my car was in the shop for months after I got into a car accident.  It got me to work when friends couldn’t come through and being that I work in downtown DC, it was really a great solution to traffic and parking issues," said Blake who became a member after winning a contest from the Howard Bookstore.

Zipcar, started in the fall of 1999 in Cambridge, MA, was created by Robin Chase and Antje Danielson after visiting Berlin and experiencing a system or renting cars by the hour as an alternative to actually owning a car.

According to Zipcar.com, renting a Zipcar is cheaper than both owning and renting a car daily, solves many transportation problems related to living in a city and is more environmentally safe than most other methods of transportation because it encourages drivers to only drive a car when it is needed.

Currently, Zipcar is only available in Washington D.C, Boston and New York but has plans to nationally expand to more major cities and neighborhoods.