Owning a car is often a luxury that not many can afford, especially when you are looking at spending roughly $800-$1,000 per month. Therefore, any alternatives, which are thankfully widely available these days, are welcome. Thus, more and more people are seeking the services of companies like Getaround and Zipcar car sharing, but how do these two compare?

People usually prefer Getaround (previously known as City CarShare) over Zipcar. Getaround offers the best value for money; however, Zipcar includes gas; therefore, some are inclined to choose them instead. However, at times the gas incentive is not enough to entice potential customers. 

As car sharing and car rentals are constantly evolving, companies must adapt to ensure that they stay ahead of the pack, especially regarding the pricing and incentives they offer their customers. So if we want to find out the better option for us, we have to take a closer look at what is included with each company, so be sure to read on to find out which one trumps.

Zipcar, City CarShare and Getaround

City CarShare, unfortunately, no longer runs under that name; however, it was a car sharing company that began in 2001 and at first operated in San Francisco. Then in 2016, it was taken over by Getaround, who took over their fleet, parking space, and signed up members. 

City CarShare used to rent vehicles by the hour, and at the time of its birth, it was the only car sharing program in San Francisco. They branched out into Berkeley, Oakland, and Palo Alto in the following year. By 2011, they were one of the eighteen companies that formed part of the North American Car Sharing Association, which was the largest in the world.

With an initial 100,000 members upon its launch, City CarShare was one of the organizations in the lead of the association. However, by 2016 City CarShare and Getaround reached an agreement where Getaround would take over all aspects of the company, including their members.

Getaround is a car sharing and peer-to-peer car sharing service that aids in connecting car owners with those who would like to reserve cars; therefore, there is a sharing of a vehicle, but obviously exchanged for a fee. The company grew astronomically and far surpassed its predecessor, when in 2019, it had a reported five million active users, with roughly 20,0000 cars globally.

Zipcar, like Getaround, is also a car sharing company; however, it is a subsidiary of and owned by Avis Budget Group. Like Getaround, it also went through a takeover process, wherein it acquired one of its competitors, Flexcar. In doing so, they assembled a car rental and car sharing company that operated nationwide. 

Although it retains its original name, Zipcar started in 2000 and was acquired by Avis Budget Group in 2013. The company was purchased for roughly $500 million 

Zipcar offers services that are billed by the day or hour. It enables customers to reserve vehicles as and when suits them. Zipcar stated that in 2016 they had managed to reach the mark of having 1 million members in 9 different countries. These members pay either an annual or monthly fee, but this does not include the costs of securing a car.

An Overview Of Getaround

Getaround is straightforward to use, and their pricing plans on the app and website mirror this, where you are given the total price your rental will cost you. There are no hidden fees or additional expenses other than the ones they stipulate. There is also an encouragement to owners of vehicles to follow a standard pricing pattern to ensure fair and equal costs.

There are, at times, occasions where the prices may vary, and this is entirely dependent on the day or hour that you wish to acquire a vehicle. Likely due to higher demand over the weekends, you will pay substantially more at roughly $85 to $90 for an entire weekend trip.     

However, with Getaround, on average, you will look at spending roughly $5 per hour for a trip that lasts for approximately 2 hours, or if you are using the car over an entire weekday, then the cost incurred will sit at about $45. What is brilliant about Getaround is that there is no annual or monthly membership fee; you merely pay for the time you use the given car.

An Overview Of Zipcar 

Unlike the likes of Getaround and Turo, for example, Zipcar is not a peer-to-peer sharing company, but rather it is their vehicles that are “shared” by their signed members.

Zipcar allows its members to use the mobile app on their phones to reserve a vehicle, or they may do so online. You can book a car for immediate use or in advance. The way you gain access to the cars is via an access card that members receive, and then the keys for the vehicle are already placed inside, so you can get in and go. 

If you cannot locate the vehicle, you can use the Android or iPhone app, which will then honk the car's horn, and if you do not have an access card on you, you can also use the Zipcar app to open the vehicle.

There are various costs included with Zipcar, as well as perks that come with being one of their members, such as:

  • A one-time application fee
  • An annual membership fee
  • And a reservation fee

The perks are that the following are included:

  • Parking
  • Insurance
  • Maintenance
  • Fuel

When it comes to comparing pricing between Zipcar and Getaround, it is slightly tricky as Zipcar includes fuel in their service. What you are likely looking at, though, regarding expense is that Zipcar will cost you between $10 and $13.25 per hour, depending on location and the type of vehicle you reserve.

But we must bear in mind that, primarily, if you use the car for a few hours, the gas is included in the price; thus, you can deduct that from the fee; as you would have to fill up yourself with similar services. Conclusively, Zipcar will be cheaper for you if you are not using it for long trips. 

However, on trips where you use a full tank of gas and perhaps rent the car for a few days at a time, the difference the fuel inclusion makes is redundant. For example, you may well find that a weekend trip will cost you around $200 for Zipcar, while the likes of Getaround are only going to charge you approximately $85 to $95.

The Pros And Cons Of Getaround VS Zipcar

When comparing Getaround vs Zipcar both have their pros and cons, and you will have to see which one fits your needs best.

Pros Of Getaround

  • There is no membership or sign-up fees involved
  • They offer short and long-term rentals
  • Their rates are as low as $5 per hour
  • The insurance on the vehicle is included
  • They have an array of cars from which to select
  • They offer24/7 roadside assistance

Cons of Getaround

  • To view their inventory, you need to sign-up
  • Gas is not included
  • If you are a driver under 25, you will incur an additional fee

Pros of Zipcar

  • Gas is included in the cost
  • Insurance is included
  • They have various types of vehicles for users to select
  • There is great ease in locating your rental vehicle
  • Claim your renal long in advance
  • 24/7 roadside assistance

Cons of Zipcar

  • A monthly/ Annual membership fee is payable
  • The car must be returned to the pickup location
  • Poor reviews regarding customer service
  • There are penalty fees for things such as late returns and low fuel

Conclusion

Both options can be economical alternatives to owning a vehicle and provide you with greater freedom than companies like Uber, where you have to stipulate specific pickup and drop-off points. Here you reserve the car, and then you can use it as you wish for the duration you intend on using it. In the end, though, there does seem to be an overall winner, which is Getaround.

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