The European notion of car sharing has found broad appeal around the world because of its environmental and economic sustainability. In December, the City of Cincinnati brought Zipcar to downtown to make commuting easier.
Metro and Zipcar then formed a partnership. It's an ideal selling point because using one or both of the transportation services is environmentally conscious, saves money and gives people the freedom to get up and go. It’s a win-win for Metro and Zipcar.
Zipcar, a business with a mission to create a future where car-sharing members outnumber car owners, offers a self-service alternative to car rental. Intended for the technologically savvy commuter, Zipcar members log in online or through the mobile app, see where vehicles are located, choose one and unlock the car by holding their Zipcard against the windshield.
Its successful rollout on the University of Cincinnati’s campus last year prompted Larry Falkin, director of the City’s Office of Environmental Quality, to bring the program to Over-the-Rhine and downtown.
Kim Lahman, Metro’s ridership development manager, says that using both Metro and Zipcars eliminates excuses that not owning a car limits commuters’ ability to travel when and where they need to.
“We thought this was a great opportunity to say, ‘If you ride the Metro downtown and don’t have to worry about parking or the hassle of traffic, and you need a car to use during the day, all you would need to do is take a Zipcar,’” Lahman says. “You would have it out for an hour or a couple of hours, and then take it back to the lot and go back to your office. How convenient would that be?”
Walking from your downtown apartment or office to somewhere close by, like Garfield Place, would be very convenient for many urban dwellers. According to Falkin, 20 percent of Cincinnati households do not own a car, or own less than one car per licensed driver.
“More and more of us are choosing a sustainable lifestyle, in which we walk or bike first, use transit as the second choice and drive as a last resort,” Falkin explains. “Using Metro and Zipcar, a person can go anywhere, anytime, without being burdened by car ownership.”
“It can also save money,” says Jill Dunne, Metro public affairs manager. “If you’re riding Metro, you’re saving money, versus the gas and the parking expenses you would pay if you had your own car. And then if you’re able to give up that car payment and you pay per trip the fee for a Zipcar, that could really save you a lot.”
The partnership also means that Metro riders get a special incentive to register and become “Zipsters.” Besides already saving money on gas and parking, Metro riders can expect to see interior advertisement cards in February from Zipcar with a discount code redeemable for up to $60 worth of free Zipcar rental.
Zipcars are parked next to blue signs that say “City of Cincinnati Car Share Parking Spots.”
Current locations are:
- NW corner of 12th and Vine (on the north side of 12th Street)
- Court Street between Walnut and Vine (angled parking spaces)
- NW corner of Garfield and Race (on the north side of Garfield Place)
To join or for more information, visit Zipcar's website
By Mildred Fallen