Carsharing has become a popular travel option in the DC region, providing convenience and flexibility to those living and working in transit oriented areas such as Arlington and DC. However, just like riding the bus or Capital Bikeshare, there can be some confusion and hesitation on trying it out for the first time. Get started by checking out our list of carsharing FAQs below!
What carsharing services are available in Arlington?
Carsharing has rapidly expanded in Arlington over the last five years - currently Zipcar, Enterprise Carshare and car2go provide carshare services in the County. Zipcar and Enterprise have designated parking spots to pick up and drop off their vehicles, while car2go allows you to park their cars at any public street parking space. Car2go also provides point-to-point carsharing, which means you can take their vehicles on one way trips and don’t have to return it to the same spot. Zipcar and Enterprise have a larger vehicle type selection, but cars must be picked and dropped off at the same location.
How is carsharing different from car rentals?
Car rentals from companies such as Avis or Hertz are typically more suitable for longer distance or multiple day trips. Carsharing services are great for shorter daily trips within a smaller geographic area such as to the grocery store, buying furniture or traveling to areas without transit options.
How does carsharing work?
For Zipcar, Enterprise Carshare and car2go, you must first sign up and be approved as a member to use their vehicles. Depending on the service, you’ll receive a member card or for car2go members, you can use a smartphone app to reserve and unlock vehicles.
Car2go allows you to use the vehicle as long as you want and park it for free in any street parking space, but all trips must end within the Home Area. Zipcar recently added a one-way trip option for certain vehicles in the DC area, allowing you to pick up a car and drop it off in a different designated parking space. The rest of Zipcar’s vehicle fleet as well as Enterprise Carshare vehicles must be picked up and returned to the same location in the time period you designated in the reservation.
I already live near plenty of transit options or use Uber/Lyft to get around, why would I use carsharing?
Even if you are surrounded by every transportation option available, a carshare membership is great for a number of reasons, and not necessarily an option you would use every day. To name a few: trekking out to Costco or for an Ikea run for big purchases, making a day trip to scenic locations such as Great Falls, commuting home when Metro is having a bad day and Uber/Lyft has a crazy surge going on or needing a car during the day to head to multiple meetings or sites for work.
I’m sure carsharing costs add up, how expensive is it?
Carsharing costs can vary depending on the company, time of day, type of vehicle or how long you use a car. Car2go has a flat fee of $0.41 a minute, making it comparable to Uber/Lyft for shorter trips. All local carsharing companies include the cost of gas, insurance and maintenance in their fees, and as one ATP staff member has found, it’s far more affordable than owning your own car.
Can I use carsharing for work purposes?
Yes, carsharing is great for employees who don’t drive to work but may need to travel to different locations during the workday. Both Zipcar and car2go offer corporate membership options that allow employees to use carsharing for work trips or provide discounted memberships as an employee benefit.
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com