Zipcar goes one-way in Washington, Baltimore

WASHINGTON — The carsharing business is highly competitive in the Washington market, and Zipcar is making a move onto Car2Go’s business model turf, rolling out a one-way rental option.

Like Car2Go, a Zipcar member can now pick up his short-term rental vehicle at one spot, and leave it at another. The traditional Zipcar model requires a member to return the vehicle to the designated spot from which he picked it up.

Unlike Car2Go, which lets members drop off the vehicle in any legal street parking spot, Zipcar’s one-way rental includes a list of designated, reserved spots members can choose for return. It is missing the freestyle “leave it where you want” Cara2Go idea, but ZipCar thinks its business model is better.

“We have the advantage of a designated parking spot for each and every one of our vehicles, so when you make a  flexible fleet reservation where you’re going one way, you’re picking up the car at a designated location and parking spot and you’ll be returning it at a designated location and parking lot,”  said Anthony Fatone, regional vice president at Zipcar.

“So you don’t have to do what we say is just drive around to find a parking spot. That leads to up to sometimes 20 minutes of just wasted down time trying to find a spot. We have that spot waiting and ready for you,” he said.

Drivers choose their return destination in advance. They can modify their drop-off choice any time during the rental.

The one-way rental also lets you pick up a Zipcar in Washington, and drive it to Baltimore and leave it there.

To start, 200 Zipcars, all Honda Fit or Honda Civic models, will be available for one-way rental. They are parked throughout downtown, Georgetown, Anacostia, Bethesda, Arlington and other metro locations. Zipcar has 1,000 cars in its local fleet.

Car2Go recently expanded its D.C. service to Arlington, and now allows for its vehicles to be picked up in the District and dropped off in Arlington and visa-versa.

Enterprise CarShare also serves the Washington carsharing market.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Hertz 24/7 is not doing one-way rentals in the region. Hertz 24/7 has pulled out of the Washington market.

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