Zipcar service hit among Rice U students

January 15, 2013 9:00:26 PM PST
It's a question most in our are don't ponder: Could you live without a vehicle? Some Rice University students are doing just that, but they're using a growing service to help them survive.

Lets face it, we all need a car at some point, but even when your car is parked, you are paying for it -- unless you use Zipcar.

Rice University student Molly McDonnell loves getting around town in her car.

"We go shopping, we go to the museum. We'll just about everything -- picking up people from the airport is also really, really common," McDonnell said.

One thing though, it's not really her car. She is using a Zipcar. To use Zipcar, McDonnell bought a yearlong subscription for under $50 and then pays about $10 per hour when she uses the car.

"You can book it for how ever long you want online, so you can say I need it from 12 to 3 and they tell you which car is available," McDonnell said.

While Zipcar has been a hit at Rice over the last five years, Avis Rent A Car hopes a bigger audience will eventually sign up. The company bought Zipcar earlier this month. The big difference between a traditional rental car and a Zipcar is that annual subscription fee.

Zipcar has more than 700,000 members nationwide, and those who help run the program at Rice say they can see a future for the subscription only service.

"You don't have to maintain it, Zipcar does it for you and you don't pay insurance because it is covered under their insurance," Rice University transportation manager Elizabeth Gbordzoe said. "So the concept is really very good for people who want to save money."

Right now the Houston Zipcars are only available to Rice University students, but the company has cars available to all subscribers in 15 U.S. cities, and Houston is under consideration for expansion.

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