With 110 vehicles - incuding 20 Priuses - now available for rental by the hour, Zipcar started service in Philadelphia this week. Haven't heard of Zipcar? Then you must be new here. Welcome, and here's what you need to know about car sharing, which allows city dwellers to rent a car when they need one and pay an hourly rate (around $10 plus a membership fee) instead of a daily rate.
The two national car sharing companies, Zipcar and Flexcar, merged late last year and the transition hasn't been totally smooth. Still, the 180,000-member service offers over 5,000 vehicles in 50 cities and continues to expand. One special offer for Philadelphians is a lower price on hybrid vehicles - just $6 an hour. I assume this is an introductory rate, but however long it lasts, it's a good deal. Details after the jump.




Press Release:

Zipcar Launches in Philadelphia!

Zipcar Completes Merger, Brings Cars on Demand to Philadelphia Residents and Businesses

PHILADELPHIA, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Zipcar, the world's largest car sharing company, today announced the launch of its service in Philadelphia. The news comes as Zipcar has successfully completed integration with Flexcar, following its October merger. In Philadelphia, Zipcar launches with 110 vehicles, including 20 hybrid Toyota Prius, located throughout Center City, Queen Village and University City.

Zipcar representatives will be available to speak to media on Tuesday March 25th on the Northwest corner of the city hall apron from 9am until 2pm.

Overall, Zipcar has attracted more than 180,000 members in 50 cities across the U.S., Canada and London, to share its fleet of 5,000 vehicles. With its arrival in Philadelphia, Zipcar brings the industry-leading car-sharing member experience to local residents and businesses. Zipcar member benefits include:

-- No per-mile charges: All Zipcar reservations come with 180 free miles each day. Reserve a car for two days? - Zipcar gives you 360 free miles.

-- Award-winning technology: Members access the vehicles through Zipcar's industry-leading technology platform. The proprietary platform fully connects the information flow between vehicles, members and Zipcar.com, allowing for transparent, real-time information resulting in faster reservation processing, simple billing, and instant maintenance alerts to field fleet staff.

-- Mobile service to match Philly residents' on-the-go life: With the industry's only mobile application, Zipcar members can completely manage their Zipcar experience from their favorite web-enabled mobile device. Members have on-the-go access to Zipcar's online reservation system, and can download a GPS enabled widget that allows them one- touch access to view and reserve cars. They can also sign up to receive text message alerts about their reservation and additional options.

-- Universal membership: The Zipcar membership enables the self-service reservation of any vehicle in any city in the Zipcar network, including more than 5,000 cars across 50 cities in the US, Canada, and UK.

-- Simple, all inclusive pricing: Zipcar's two simple pricing plans allow members to choose between an occasional driving plan with no monthly commitment and a frequent driver plan with discounts up to 15%.

-- Hybrids, hybrids, hybrids: With gas prices on the rise, Zipcar is encouraging more Philadelphians to go green by lowering its rates on all hybrid vehicles to $6 per hour, including 180 free miles, gas, maintenance, and insurance.

"Nationwide, we have shown that Zipcar is a simple, cost-effective solution to parking, congestion, and urban emission challenges," said Scott Griffith, Chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "Each Zipcar put on the road takes up to 15 personally owned cars off the streets. Our cars are here and ready to drive in Philly and we look forward to introducing Philadelphians to the Zipcar lifestyle."

The integration touched on many areas of the company, including Zipcar's technology, fleet, membership, marketing and pricing. The technology was flawlessly transferred to the Zipcar system, with no down time in member services, and minimal down time for the vehicle fleet. All marketing, including new visor organizers, vehicle branding, and consumer and business marketing materials, were integrated under the Zipcar brand.

About Zipcar

Zipcar is the world's leading car-sharing service with more than 180,000 members and 5,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout 26 North American states and provinces as well as in London, England. As a leader in urban transportation, Zipcar offers more than 25 makes and models of self- service vehicles by the hour or day to savvy city residents and businesses looking for an alternative to the high costs and hassles of owning a car in the city. In October 2007, Zipcar announced a merger with Washington D.C. based Flexcar, immediately expanding operations to more than 50 cities, and enabling future growth into new markets across the United States, Canada, and Europe. For more information, visit zipcar.com.

[Source: Zipcar]


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