Zipcar Launches in Honolulu
Popular car-sharing network Zipcar brought its inaugural pair of cars to the Islands May 13, setting up its first location at Pacific Beach Hotel in Waikiki.
With the tagline “wheels when you want them,” Zipcar is an alternative to a traditional car rental service that aims to be easier, more cost effective and has the ultimate goal of rivaling car ownership. Based on the European model of car sharing, the company was founded 15 years ago as a way to reduce the number of cars on the road — and subsequently lessen congestion and pollution. According to Zipcar data, each of its vehicles has the potential to take 15 privately owned cars off the road.
“With Honolulu consistently named one of the most congested cities, we felt that car sharing could be a natural fit to help reduce emissions and congestion in the crowded Waikiki and downtown areas,” explains Zipcar regional vice president Dan Grossman.
“We have been working directly with the city of Honolulu as they work to bring more car sharing into the area,” he adds.
Currently, there are two cars available at Pacific Beach Hotel: a Ford Escape named “Meatball” and a Toyota Corolla called “Surfs Up.” Meatball and Surfs Up can be rented by any resident, visitor or business — as long as you’re a Zipcar member (and at least 21 years old). Membership is $7 per month. Hourly driving plans also are an option.
Here’s how it works: Zipcar members can reserve a car online, or via a mobile app, and pick it up at Pacific Beach Hotel, using a Zipcard to unlock the vehicle. When your rental time is finished, simply return the car to the hotel.
“The hope is that these first cars will help to build up a membership base in Hawaii and that we will be able to expand outward into new locations as more and more Hawaii residents, businesses and visitors look to alternative modes of transportation,” Grossman says.
“We make it as simple as possible for people to give up a car, but still have access to a vehicle through Zipcar without the hassles and costs of car ownership,” he adds.
Currently, Zipcar has more than 900,000 members and provides more than 10,000 vehicles throughout the world, including Canada, Spain, France and more. Zipcar also recently has added locations in Ottawa and has launched in Turkey.
“Zipcar is expanding all the time,” Grossman says.
Locally, Grossman says that the company hopes to expand Zipcar to include other locations within the state.
For more information, visit zipcar.com.