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Avis buys Zipcar, now what?

zipcar-boston-from-zipcar

Photo from Zipcar

There was a lot sturm und drang across the internets yesterday as it was announced that Avis plans to acquire Zipcar for approximately $500 million. My personally initial reaction was, yay, those are the two companies I go to when I need a car. I use Zipcar for when I need a car for a few hours locally, and Avis when I need a car for a few days and have to travel a greater distance. At times I think it would be good if they were combined somehow, booking, accounts, insurance, etc.

However, some of the initial reaction I saw was fear of a giant corporation (Avis) somehow destroying a friendly start-up (Zipcar). Personally, as a user, I actually interact at the counter with people at Avis and find them beyond friendly and accommodating, and my “preferred” member status gets me upgrades and such.

Zipcar on the other hand is completely faceless to me, I have more of a connection with the car I rent most often (Faber, who might have died!) than any people at Zipcar.

But what really matters is that I have a car when I need at a price I can afford, and that if I’m a loyal customer, I get some perceived perks out of it (I don’t care if everyone gets the same perks, just make me feel special damn it!).

So, not know the ins and outs of business well myself, what is the internet saying?

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Dislike: Zipcar ad

Zipcar ad

This image was making the rounds on Twitter last week, it looks like it was first Twitted by Bike Blog NYC.

As you can see, the ad depicts a couple of business people very inefficiently carrying a bunch of crap whilst riding bikes in business attire. Their problems could easily be solved by a good messenger bag or some saddle bags on their bikes. They don’t actually need cars.

Yes, the whole point of Zipcar is that indeed, sometimes you might actually need a car. It is great that this company exists for those of us who choose not to own cars. However, implying that it is simply impossible to get to your office without a car is not a message that us car free individuals repsond too. People who feel that way own cars and are not Zipcar’s target audience.

It is actually quite possible for a business person to get to their office on their bike, without need for a car.

Tokyo businessman

Tokyo businessman. Photo (cc) acjeppo

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Zipcar to open office in Providence, expand local fleet

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Photo courtesy of City of Providence

The City of Providence and Zipcar announced today that the car share company will open an office in the city and expand it’s fleet of vehicles here.

The car sharing company started several years ago offering several cars to members of the Brown University community. Recently it has expanded to serving both RISD and Johnson & Wales and also has several cars located at the Biltmore Garage (formerly the Parkade) on Washington Street.

With the companies expansion into the Providence market, cars will now be available on Exchange Street near the train station, Traverse Street north of Wickenden, and South Main Street near Power Street. The company will be looking at other areas with high foot traffic to locate vehicles. The fleet will include, Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, Nissan Sentra, Toyota Matrix, Scion xB, Honda Insight and others.

“Providence’s partnership with Zipcar is a significant step towards our goal of providing a greener and more sustainable environment for our residents. It is also a great example of increased business expansion into Providence and a boost to our local economy through job creation,” said Mayor Taveras. “Zipcar is already popular with the Providence community through its program with local universities, and we believe that by expanding the availability of car sharing throughout the city, we are providing convenient transportation options that will not only reduce the city’s demand for parking, but also aid in reducing harmful emissions.”

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