imagesThere’s a trend that many downtowners are embracing as they streamline their lifestyles.  They realize that there’s a freedom in dropping the old idea that there needs to be a car in the garage for every adult in the house.  Recognizing this orientation and its benefits to residents, as well as the environment, the city made the announcement today that zipcar will be a new part of the downtown urbanscape.  David Eatman, City of Raleigh Transit Administrator, said, “This will be a huge asset for our growing residential community in downtown Raleigh”.

So why did it take so long?

If you’ve been around DLA for long, you’ll remember that we helped bring WeCar, Enterprise’s car sharing service to the downtown Raleigh market back in July 2010.  This is what we said back then.  Unfortunately, WeCar left the market after about a year, unsuccessful in expanding beyond residents into the nearby universities. At the same time Zipcar won the RFP and became the city’s preferred vendor.  So there’s been a reshuffle, which will bring more support to this car-sharing opportunity.

ZipCarSpotsCars parked in Glenwood South

Zipcar will initially offer 2 cars, both parked in dedicated on-street spaces in Glenwood South on the corner of Glenwood Avenue and West Lane Street, adjacent to the 222 Glenwood Building.  This should be a good location, given the proximity to the R-line stop.  Zipcar already has cars at Meredith College and NC State, so it also makes sense that they would want to be on the west side of Downtown.

How it works

You can read the details on Zipcar’s website at

  • Available on demand and accessed at any time
  • Cars reserved for just an hour, or multiple days ($69 per day)
  • Cars returned to the same spot where they were picked up
  • $7.50 per hour includes gas and insurance (up to 180 miles per day)
  • $25 application fee, $50 annual fee

Why it works

Last year, about 800,000 people belonged to car-sharing services in the United States, representing a 44 percent increase from the prior year.  Car sharing is particularly popular in urban areas, where access to public transit enhances the benefits for residents who find they only need a car part-time, avoiding the hassles and cost of owning a second car.  Improved mobile technology also makes renting a car for quick errands very convenient (get the smartphone app or rent via Facebook), and it fits into the general trend for people wanting to ‘pay for what they use’.

The DLA embraces this development as one more example of how the city is responding to the needs of downtowners.  Are YOU ready to be a Zipster? . . apply here.