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If you’re a regular user of the Zipcar platform, you will be familiar with the convenience of booking a vehicle at a time and place that meets your needs. But you may wonder if booking a one-way trip with Zipcar is possible to collect a vehicle at one location and drop it off at a different one.  

Zipcar doesn’t offer one-way trips in all of North America, only in Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles as part of a beta program. Flexible, one-way bookings are available only in London and surrounding areas via the UK Flex Zipcar program.

While Zipcar doesn’t yet advertise any one-way options on its website, a few cities are currently in beta testing. What you should be aware of when it comes to one-way Zipcar trips?

5 Places Zipcar One Way Is Available

Currently, there aren’t any official places where Zipcar one-way is allowed. However, the following sites allow one-way trips under the stipulated conditions:

  1. United Kingdom: Zipcar Flex allows one-way trips across London and other regions in the UK.
  2. Boston: As part of the beta testing process for one-way trips
  3. Denver: Beta testing in this region was approved in 2015/2016
  4. Philadelphia: One of the cities where Zipcar was trialing one-way trips
  5. Los Angeles: The fourth region where one-way Zipcar rentals were tested.

Do Zipcar Trips Have To Be Round Trips?

The idea behind Zipcar was to provide convenient and user-friendly transport, including picking up a vehicle and returning it to that designated area once your trip is complete. However, some people need cars for a one-way trip, for example, going from your home or place of business to the airport to catch a flight – meaning you wouldn’t return the car you’ve hired to where you started.

Traditional car rental agencies allow one-way trips as a manner of course, but Zipcar doesn’t yet offer this service in all regions. In the United Kingdom, this one-way service is called Zipcar Flex, allowing drivers to collect and drop off vehicles in different locations. According to Zipcar, this is not a state-wide service in the USA but is in testing.    

What Is Zipcar One-Way Beta, And How Does It Work?

Starting in 2014, Zipcar in the United States ran a beta testing program for Zipcar’s one-way service. This would allow users to collect a car in a Zipzone and drop it off in another designated location, effectively making this a one-way trip instead of a roundtrip.

In 2014, the program started with testing launched in Boston, which was expanded the following year to include three more states. A limited number of vehicles were deployed in key areas allowing travel between specific hubs, including downtown regions and airports.

In 2015, the beta program proved successful in Boston, with more cars added to the roster. The fleet consisted mainly of Honda Fit models to maximize fuel efficiency and convenience on quick one-way journeys.

Can You Drop A Zipcar Anywhere?

Current Zipcar protocols dictate that once you’ve booked a trip, you receive photos, directions, and descriptions of the car’s location. The exact spot where you collect the vehicle is where you have to drop it off again – your trip is only considered ended once you’ve returned the car to the designated location.

In other countries, Zipcar does allow you to arrange a return to a different location. While the beta testing program in the United States did make provision on a small scale for dropping the Zipcar off at a different location, the current policy is that you cannot drop a Zipcar anywhere other than where you found it initially. You will also be billed until the car is returned to the original location where it was found.

Can You Return A Zipcar To A Different Location?

There aren’t any official options for returning your Zipcar to a different location from where you picked it up. Zipcar tested the one-way trip options in select cities and states across North America, but in 2022, there is no official implementation of a Zipcar one-way travel program.

If you have an issue with the car mechanically, such as a breakdown or a warning light that causes you to continue driving it, you can contact the Zipcar customer center for assistance and arrange a good place to leave the vehicle or collection for repairs.

In every other scenario, at the time of writing, Zipcar requires you to return your rented vehicle to the same place where you found it, with the keys inside the car, before your trip is considered ended. GPS tracking ensures the vehicle’s location is logged at all times and will pick up whether or not the return location is correct.

What Is Zipcar Flex?

Zipcar Flex is a one-way rental option for car-sharing via the platform, but it is only available in the United Kingdom at present. This option is ideal for those that need transport for short trips such as to an airport. Flex options in the UK have proved highly successful and are available in numerous regions.

The difference between Zipcar Flex and Roundtrip options is that Flex trips are charged by the minute instead of the hour. Additionally, these cars are parked in approved bays across the Zipzone and can be easily identified on the Zipcar app by looking for blue pins on the map.  

Can I Drive A Zipcar To Another State?

While your pick-up and drop-off zones are predetermined on Zipcar, this doesn’t stop you from driving your rented vehicle to another state. Provided your booked trip provides the time you’ll need to travel so far, and you understand that your fuel and mileage limitations per day apply, you are allowed to drive a Zipcar to another state.

Remember that 180 miles per day are included in your rental fees, and any additional mileage will be charged. Additionally, you remain responsible for ensuring you return the car with a quarter tank of gas or more, so you’ll need to top up between pick-up and drop-off. Lastly, you are also responsible for paying for tolls on your journey.

Conclusion

Whether you need a ride to a party, the airport, or to join your friends at a specific venue, one-way trips are often required. And while taxis and platforms like Uber allow you to be driven to where you need to go, many people prefer the independence and control of driving themselves where they need to go without having to return the car to where you collected it.

Unfortunately, this service is not yet fully available in the United States. While it was in testing in four cities in North America, it is only a fully functioning option in the United Kingdom at present.

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