Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Zipcar, CityCarShare, Uber/Lyft and Rental Cars

For the record this is not a sponsored post but just my own personal experience.

When I travel I go to places where there is a Zipcar or I take a Zipcar and while it may seem expensive I still can not beat the free gas* and free miles* I get.
Yet, I am seeing a sizable chunk of my income become ZipCar'd and my tax man has told me unless I significantly document I am getting the Zipcar for an expense that the government finds reasonable I am spending way too much on ZipCar.

That brings up the options and the first one is CityCarShare while the same premise as ZipCar their rates are a little lower and manageable. Plus, being a nonprofit organization I get the benefit of tax deducting some of my rental. The caveat being CityCarShare is limited and not widely available.

What about Uber/Lyft? Well, my local Uber driver is sketchy to say the least. Next, if I am in a new town an Uber/Lyft driver may make sense except again, Uber may not be in Catonsville or Eureka. What if I want to leave early or trek a backroad like I did in Sacramento ? Not really a good way to get to know a city but I am not holding my breath either as I don't believe the "cost" is better than taking a taxi.

This leaves me with getting a Rental Car. Now, why don't I just get a rental car? First, when making the rental they still have to put $150 to $500 deposit on the card. Secondly, they will only give the money back after I return the car and I paid for my rental so a weekend away becomes about $600 too much because I still have to pay for the gas and miles if i go over their predetermined limit. Not to mention the amount of time wasted standing in line as one person behind the desk helps the fifteen people in front of me with their reservations.

So while I do spend about $300 on Zipcar I get the luxury of Insurance coverage, a fast pass so i can cross toll bridges with ease, 180 miles free for each day of my trip so my 490 miles to Sacramento was covered! Did I mention they pay for the Gas? Yeah that is easily $30 dollars I rather keep in my pocket.

*180 free miles *Gas card doesn't work at Arco stations

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