Flexcar Car Sharing
Flexcar is one of the several car sharing services available to those of us in the United States, similar to Zipcars and the new U Car Share from U-Haul. Car sharing can be a big help to business travelers who visit certain areas frequently and don’t necessarily need to keep their rental for the long haul. Had I joined a program such as this when I was visiting Chicago frequently for work, I would have been in business travel heaven. I could have saved some dough for my employer by only using the car for meetings (I generally took the L when I went out at night) and would have saved a bundle in parking charges. Sadly, even Flexcar couldn’t have saved me from all of the tickets I received at toll booths.
Flexcar has environmentally efficient cars parked in throughout its member cities. The major difference with ZipCars is that Flexcar is focusing on the college group, and therefore has cars in neighborhoods surrounding colleges. Rates are variable, but ballpark in the $8 to $10 an hour range. There is a 150 mile per day cap, with a $0.20 per mile charge for overages. A “Dollar Advantage” plan is available for businesses who intend to use the cars frequently. With this plan, the company commits to a certain dollar amount per month and receives a reduced rate. This plan, unfortunately, only gives members access to cars in their city. I guess that means if you visit more than one of the cities, your membership will only apply in one.
To use this program, join Flexcar. Then you can reserve your car online. The car is unlocked when you approach with a valid reservation, by a chip located in your “FlexPass” membership card. Drive away and return the car to its parking spot when you’re finished.
You can find them in: Atlanta, Georgia; Baltimore, Massachusetts; Gainesville, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington and Washington D.C.
The company even offers a way to offset the CO2 emissions of car-sharing driving and other consumer activities, with a $9.95 Flexcar Green Membership. The Green Membership brings you at least one metric ton of CO2 offsets over the next 12 months and additional benefits, such as discounts with other Flexcar environmentally progressive partners.