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Zipcar One Way: Can You Return A Zipcar To A Different Location?

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Key Takeaways

  • Flex Option for One-Way Trips: Zipcar offers a “Flex” service allowing one-way trips, where you can leave the car in designated areas at your destination.
  • Pricing and Billing: Charged per minute at a rate of 31 cents, ideal for short-term travels with the added convenience of fuel costs covered by Zipcar.
  • Availability: Available in select U.S. cities and London boroughs; cannot be used for international trips.
  • Use Cases: Useful for airport travels, attending events, relocation, and flexible short-term travel.

Can You Take a Zipcar One Way?

Yes, you can take a Zipcar one way using their “Flex” option, available in certain areas. This feature allows you to leave the car in a designated area in your destination city, rather than returning it to the original pickup spot.

The Flex option charges by the minute, making it ideal for short trips. To use this service, you must book through the Zipcar app, which is the only way to find Flex cars.

When you’re finished with the car, you can drop it off anywhere within the designated “ZipZone” of your destination, ensuring it has at least a quarter tank of gas.

It’s important to park according to the local regulations of the ZipZone.

What is the Difference Between a Zipcar Flex and a Zipcar Round Trip?

vector graphic showing an illustration of the Zipcar one way return process

The main difference between Zipcar Roundtrip and Zipcar Flex lies in their usage and pricing.

Zipcar Roundtrip is designed for pre-planned round trips, where you pick up and return the vehicle to the same dedicated bay.

It’s suitable for longer journeys, like moving house or weekend trips, and is charged by the hour or day, with prices starting from $6 per hour for cars.

Zipcar Flex, on the other hand, is a one-way service where you can pick up a car and drop it off anywhere in the designated Zipzone, following specific parking rules.

This service is charged at $0.32 per minute and is ideal for shorter, everyday trips such as visiting friends or early morning commutes. Flex cars must be reserved via the Zipcar app.

Where Can You Go With Zipcar Flex?

In the United States, Zipcar Flex is available or being introduced in several cities, including Boston, Denver, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. You can take Zipcar Flex out of state as long as you drop off the car in a designated ZipZone within these cities.

Internationally, Zipcar Flex is available in most boroughs of London, such as Ealing, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Richmond, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, and Westminster.

Heathrow Airport also has a ZipZone for dropping off cars. However, Zipcar Flex cannot be used for international travel between countries, including travel between the U.S. and London.

How Much Does Zipcar One Way Cost?

Zipcar One Way trips cost 31 cents per minute. This pricing model is suitable for short-term travels.

Unlike round-trip rentals, which charge by the hour or day, the per-minute rate of Zipcar One Way offers more flexibility and cost-efficiency for shorter trips.

Additionally, Zipcar covers the cost of fuel. Each car is equipped with a fuel card for refilling the tank at gas stations. If the fuel card is missing, drivers can pay for fuel, keep the receipt, and Zipcar will reimburse the cost.

Most Zipcar vehicles also include a toll pass, though it’s advisable to check the car’s amenities in the app before confirming the rental.

Why Should Somebody Consider Using Zipcar One Way Trips?

Zipcar One Way trips, such as those offered through the Zipcar Flex service, are worth considering for several reasons:

  1. Airport Transportation: Convenient for travel to and from airports, avoiding the need for rideshare services and saving on parking fees, especially beneficial for long-term travel.
  2. Events and Parties: Ideal for one-way travel to events in different towns, eliminating the worry about the return journey.
  3. Relocation: Useful for moving to a new city, allowing one-way transport of belongings without the need for a return trip.
  4. Short-term Travel Flexibility: Cost-effective for short road trips where a roundtrip is not necessary.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

I have friends that use Zipcar Flex due to how cheap is can be. For example, the service is approximately $6 for 30 minutes, which can be more economical than ridesharing options like Uber or Lyft, especially for short trips within the city.

Since it is possible to reserve a car straight from your phone and drop it off at any available Zipcar spot, the need for parking or gas payments is essentially eliminated.

In my head, the best use case for this type of service is for attending events like concerts or bars, and even for airport commutes.

How To Reserve a Zipcar One Way

To reserve a Zipcar One Way, simply follow these steps:

  1. Download and Open the Zipcar App: Install the Zipcar app on your mobile device and open it.
  2. Locate a Vehicle: On the app’s map, look for blue dots representing Zipcar Flex vehicles. Clicking on a dot will show the ZipZone area in blue.
  3. Select a Vehicle: Tap on a vehicle within the ZipZone to view its details.
  4. Confirm Reservation: Choose a vehicle and click “Confirm Reservation.” This reserves the car for you for 15 minutes.
  5. Unlock the Vehicle: Within 15 minutes, use the app to unlock the car. If you don’t unlock it within this timeframe, it becomes available to other users.
  6. Navigate to the Car: Follow the app’s directions to find the vehicle.
  7. Start Your Trip: Unlock the vehicle with your mobile device and begin your journey.

Note: This reservation process can only be completed through the Zipcar app, not on the company’s website.

Frequently Asked Question

Here are some answers to questions you may be asking.

How far in advance do you need to reserve a Zipcar Flex?

You can only reserve a Zipcar Flex up to fifteen minutes in advance. Simply open the Zipcar app, select an available vehicle, and confirm the reservation. After confirmation, you have fifteen minutes to reach the vehicle in its ZipZone parking spot.

Can you turn a Zipcar One Way reservation into Roundtrip?

No, you cannot convert a Zipcar One Way reservation into a Roundtrip. Even if you return the car to the same ZipZone where you picked it up, it remains a pay-per-minute One Way trip and won’t switch to the hourly or daily rate typical of Roundtrip rentals.

Wrapping Up

Zipcar Flex is convenient for travelers who do not want to worry about their return trip.

If you plan on heading to a location with a ZipZone, consider downloading the Zipcar app to book your Zipcar Flex rental.

Remember that you will be paying a per-minute rate, and be sure to check the parking rules for the ZipZone that you will park in beforehand.

When it comes to rental companies that make one-way trips simple and enjoyable, Zipcar is one of the best options.

Its simple interface and accessible customer service representatives are a win for travelers.

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