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Zipcar car sharing offers an affordable “car renting” service that allows individuals to rent and drive a car (hassle free) through a monthly subscription service. Besides their standard roundtrip service, they also offer Zipcar Flex. What is this, and how can it benefit you? Let’s find out.

Zipcar Flex is a one-way car service that Zipcar offers. Unlike their roundtrip service, where you will return the car to its original location when you use it, Zipcar Flex allows you to drive to your destination and leave the car in one of the designated locations.

In this article, we will go over Zipcar’s one-way service, going over all the intricate details that need to be considered when using this service and answering all your pertinent questions about it. If you want to know everything about Zipcar Flex, then this article is all you need.

What Is Zipcar Flex?

Zipcar Flex is Zipcar’s one-way service. Zipcar (the service), founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2000, is a car-sharing company subsidiary of Avis Budget Group. They initially offered roundtrip services whereby you could “rent” a car through a monthly subscription.

These cars would be located in designated parking bays across the city, and the process involved picking up the car, using it for the allocated time that was booked, and then returning it to the same location when you were done.

However, In 2017 Zipcar Flex was introduced in London. Using the Zipcar app, customers were now also able to book a car, use it, and then leave it in any of the approved parking bay locations located in a 70 km2 (squared kilometers) radius within London. This new service meant that Zipcar now allowed its customers to travel one way.

How Does Zipcar Flex Work?

Zipcar Flex works primarily the same as the roundtrip service. In essence, you will book your car through the app, go to its location, drive it to your intended destination (making any intended stops on the way), and then leave it in one of the designated parking zones.

This is unlike Zipcar’s roundtrip service, where you return the car to its initial (previous) location at the end of the trip, leaving it for the next user.

Where Is Zipcar Flex Available?

Today Zipcar Flex is not only available in London but is also available in some U.S. cities.

Is Zipcar Flex Only One Way?

Yes, Zipcar Flex is only a one-way service. It will help if you remember that when you use the Zipcar app to book your vehicle, you can choose between round trip (the standard service) or Flex (the one-way service).

Opting to book the Flex service means that you are essentially booking to use a vehicle and will drip it off in one of the designated locations (Zipzones) to where you are headed. You will not be returning the car to the initial area or to its previous location.

Can You Drop Off Or Park A Zipcar Anywhere?

You are not able to drop off a Zipcar anywhere. You must drop off the car in one of the designated Zipzones as long as it complies with the parking rules of the designated area.

Consider that you can park in other areas throughout your trip when you use the roundtrip service. However, if you stop in a space or area that requires a fee, you will be obligated to pay for it.

Can You Drop A Zipcar Off At Another Location?

If using the roundtrip service, you must return it to its initial Zipzone spot once done. However, the Flex service allows you to leave it in designated zones (other locations) within the area that you are headed toward.

How Far Can You Drive With A Zipcar?

Technically there is no limit on how far you can drive a Zipcar, but there are restrictions. Only 180 miles are covered for free. In the U.S., these 180 miles are included in a 24-hour period, including 20 additional miles for each extra hour until the total 180 miles are reached.

Can You Drive A Zipcar Outside Of The City Or Out Of State?

Zipcar Flex and the roundtrip service only allow you to utilize the cars within the designated area; this means you are not allowed to drive them across international borders. This is inclusive of leaving the city or crossing state lines.

Moreover, the 180-mile distance restriction per 24 hours will limit where you can go. However, if you abide by the restrictions and plan your trip accordingly, you may be able to leave a city or cross state lines, but not international borders.

How To Use Zipcar Flex

Using Zipcar Flex is as easy as using the roundtrip service. You will book your Flex car through the app on your smartphone, arrive at the destination where the car is parked, and then check it to make sure it is in a suitable condition.

You will then unlock the car using the Zipcar card or app, climb in and drive to your destination. Once you have arrived at your destination, confirm it on the app, lock the car, and leave. Zipcar has a checklist of how this service works;

  • Reserving
  • Arriving (going to the car)
  • Checking
  • Unlocking
  • Grabbing
  • Adjusting
  • Personalizing
  • Driving
  • Doing
  • Dropping
  • Locking
  • Leaving

How Do You Book Zipcar Flex

It should be noted that although you can book a Zipcar online, only the roundtrip service will be available. Booking a Zipcar Flex is only available through the app, either on iPhone or Android.

Which Is Cheaper: Uber Or Zipcar?

If your average routine consists of only needing a car a couple of times a week for an hour each time, then a Zipcar is cheaper than Uber. A Zipcar membership, on average, will cost $1,236 per year. For the same purposes buying a car actually works out cheaper than Uber, with a new car costing approximately $7,800 a year while Uber works out to be almost $9,000 per year.


We discovered that Zipcar Flex is Zipcar’s one-way service that allows you to rent and drive a car to your intended destination and leave it there. This is unlike their regular roundtrip service, whereby you must park the car in its original location after your trip.

Take note that although this service is available, you will only be able to book it through the smartphone app, and besides London, it is only available in some cities in the U.S.