Keep Houston Press Free

Some Things to Consider as Zipcar Expands in Houston

Hey, need a ride-share?

The City of Houston has used Zipcar's technology of electronically loaning and reserving cars for a little more than year. A total of 13 city departments use this technology which promotes clean air and has city employees whipping around in electric and hybrid vehicles. How sporty is the Nissan Leaf EV, actually?

Rice University's had the service for about three years and used it to find weekend rides to nerdy ragers. The imprint expanded this week to include Houston citywide. Well, not really that "wide" since most of the non-Rice rental locations are near downtown and midtown. So, what's not to like? You get to rent a Japanese or European car for somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 an hour and around $75 or so a day. If you're slumming, you can opt for a Ford Focus or something like that.

And in a you-better-have-a-car town like Houston, who needs a pay-as-go ride-sharing service anyway? Before you chain up your fixed gear bike and take a last swig of that Starbuck's latte and sign up for a Zipcar account, let's look at some reason not to even bother using this service. (You'll thank us later.)

1). Questionable customer service

When you're putting down your hard earned credit card to sign up for a service that can charge you big bucks for being late, or for having a ding on the fender go unreported, you want to make sure you get some polite, accurate service on the phone. That might not be the case based on an AdWeek article that showed a plethora of Yelp and other reviews saying basically, that Zipster customer service sucks.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

2). Sometimes they forget to pay their bills Okay, so in the New York area you have like a billion expensive bridges and tunnels to choose from and Zipcar uses EZ-Pass, the friendly cousin of our EZ-Tag. Well, not too long ago, Zipcar forgot to pay their EZ-Pass bill and a bunch of folks got pulled over.

3) People will look at you funny and you'll be called a Zipster who can't drive Okay, so who really cares about what people think, but the presiding wisdom is that if you need Zipcar it's because you don't have a car, so, you don't drive too often. This might mean that your driving skills are weak. And on these here busy H-Town streets you might get challenged on one of those sharp right turns and end up using that good Zipcar insurance.

4) They have a crazy rule on damages If you missed a ding here or there when you picked up your Zipcar, you get nailed for it. Big time.

5) Really condescending car names. So the fun with being a Zipcar user is you don't have to make up a name for your car. It already has one. A terrible one probably. We're cool with the Prius named "Dierdre", it reminds us of a co-worker we once had, silly and efficient on gas. The Corolla named Galveston is okay, too. But then there's that Nissan pickup named Humberto that we find kind of annoying, because it makes us think that Zipcar is trying to appeal to Latino laborers or, maybe the truck is supposed to be Latino. We can't tell.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.