Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Transportation Information Revolution

10. May 2006 • Juliew
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Speaker: Robin Chase, founder and former CEO of Zipcar
Date: May 18, 2006, 4-5:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Location: Michigan Union, Wolverine Room

zipcar

“We are on the verge of a transportation-information revolution. In this presentation, Robin Chase will explore and explain how we can use cheap and ubiquitous information to reduce congestion, to improve the quality of transit alternatives, to shift our relationship with transportation modes, to be a catalyst for new service options (including the successful ZipCar car-sharing model now thriving in several major American cities), and to link driving more closely with its true costs. The presentation will be of interest to academics, professionals, and interested citizens.”



  1. I’m a ZipCar customer in NYC; I love it. I’m not sure the potential market is as large in AA since parking is ample, insurance is lower, and there are many more things that are only practically accessibly by car in the vicinity, all justifying the owning of at least a cheap old used car. In NYC parking and insurance are insanely expensive, and the $50/year + $12/hr (or $65/day) is a much better deal for a ZipCar, especially since I can pick one up two blocks from my apartment or a few blocks from my office. It’s great when you only need a car once every month or three.


       —Scott T.    May. 10 '06 - 03:19AM    #
  2. i would think there’s a pending market in town – it may not exist completely today, but there are two (and a half) potential client bases.

    one: with all the density that is proposed, some of which is being built, i’d expect many people who live downtown to want to do something like this.

    two: students. those who don’t have a car, can’t afford a car, and yet need an occasional schwarma fix at la shish.

    half: greens. all those people who live wherever in town, and occasionally need a car, or a second car, but mostly walk/bike/bus everywhere the rest of the time.

    that said, zipcar doesn’t seem to be afraid to charge different rates based on different markets. they’re in similar markets (chapel hill) already, and wildly different too (nyc, sf, toronto), and each has a very different rate system. some subscription, some pure hourly, etc. i expect they’d come up with something that could work for whatever volume we have.


       —bob kuehne    May. 10 '06 - 12:57PM    #
  3. Yeah, they might make it work. In the city they have business accounts with lower rates, which makes it possible for a small business to have access to a vehicle fleet as needed. I could see the U tapping in to this to replace or augment their fleet of small cars. It also simplifies the whole reimbursement process—rather than reimbursing employees for mileage, they can just give them a ZipCard and pay the bill.


       —Scott T.    May. 10 '06 - 01:30PM    #
  4. Rumor is that the University is close to signing a deal with Zipcar which, although primarily University-oriented, will be available to all. This is particularly good for students under 25, who often have a hard time renting a car because of liability. I agree that there is a potential market, but it will take some marketing (and continued high gas prices).

    One use I heard talked about early on for Zipcar was for transportation within the city for people who use vanpools and buses and the park and ride so they can do errands while in town. I find this vaguely unsettling for some reason, but I guess it is better than having them drive longer distances alone just because they have a dentist appointment or have to pick up their drycleaning.


       —Juliew    May. 10 '06 - 01:35PM    #
  5. “I find this vaguely unsettling for some reason, but I guess it is better than having them drive longer distances alone just because they have a dentist appointment or have to pick up their drycleaning.”

    Or because they “will need it in an emergency”, which are, of course, rare. Meanwhile they drive into town every day “just in case.”

    I hadn’t thought that car sharing could be much of an energy saver (after all, driving is driving, whether you own the car or not), but this example shows that there’s potential. The right combination of economic and personal circumstances, along with the availability of this option, could result in a significant decrease in gasoline consumption, especially if (most of) the vehicles are smaller, run on biodiesel or electricity, and/or are hybrids. Higher gas prices (noted by Julie) could even lead some people to displace miles driven in their primary vehicle (50/50 odds that it’s a small truck/SUV) with a more efficient one. The US vehicle fleet turns over every 15 years or so. Car sharing could accelerate that turnover, in part. And when the turnover occurs for an individual, they may opt for a more efficient primary vehicle and meet their truck needs through the program.

    Zipcar may want to come up with a slogan with broader appeal, though.


       —Steve Bean    May. 10 '06 - 02:15PM    #
  6. Steve,

    Having seen James Howard Kunstler speak in town just recently, I’ll offer up his mantra, “you can’t replace energy with technology.” The study of lifetime energy cost per mile that shows hybrid Honda Civics to consume 50% more energy per mile than the non-hybrid variety is instructive. (And ethanol production is a net energy loss, NPR told me.)

    I’m just nitpicking at the edge of your comment, though; I see alternative fuel as largely a red herring keeping us from thinking about real steps. I think the other ways carsharing could save energy that you mention are more solid – plus, the size argument works the other way, too. Having a van/truck/SUV available through ZipCar could encourage people to choose a small, efficient car for everyday commuting and errends, secure in teh knowledge that, if they need to buy some drywall or pick up a Craigslist washing machine on short notice, they’ll have access to the large vehicle to do it.

    Assuming the pricing system is right and the marketing good (and, so far as I’ve seen on the east coast, ZipCar’s marketing is good) this could be pretty cool.


       —TPM    May. 10 '06 - 02:29PM    #
  7. TPM,
    You might want to do a little research on that report about hybrids. It was done by CMW Market Research who, by their own admission on their website, answers questions ‘for their clients first’. Who are those clients?

    “Clients include major automobile manufacturers, banks and lending institutions, Wall Street brokerage firms and consultants.”

    Thus, their conclusion that hybrids are actually worse for the environment (long-term) than SUVs may be, uh, mildly questionable…


       —Marc R.    May. 10 '06 - 03:12PM    #
  8. I noticed that – however, I’ve never talked to an engineer who was bullish on alternatively-fueled vehicles, except the ones who had research grants to work on them, so this is just another element in my personal skepticism.

    When I had friends on the UM Solar Car Team, years back, none of them had any illusions that their work was remotely about creating more efficient mass market vehicles. (It was about Winning! :) ) The reality of working on something that would run even at 50 mph or so, even with the Australian summer sun to work with, made them think the idea of doing this on a large scale was pretty funny.

    So I stick to my previous comment – that non-petroleum fuel sources for cars are way down on the priority list after enabling reduced car use.


       —TPM    May. 10 '06 - 03:31PM    #
  9. Zipcar could make a real dent in the local market if it manages to let the U outsource its (huge) fleet of cars owned by departments and schools.


       —Edward Vielmetti    May. 10 '06 - 05:30PM    #
  10. So the UM wants to get rid of even more of its fleet?

    If i’m not mistaken, they’re letting go of the MStores drivers and that part of the fleet.

    How many maintanence (and other) jobs will be lost in the process of getting rid of the majority of the vehicle fleet?

    The business applications of this model sound like little more than outsourcing. Quite a nasty circle we’ve started here…

    While i do believe that this model has promise, without it being (formally) coordinated with other modes of transportation, it does little to address the issues of fuel conservation, anti-sprawl development, etc.


       —kand    May. 10 '06 - 07:43PM    #
  11. To me, “the business applications of this model” sound like a lot more than outsourcing. As do the public policy implications.

    Carsharing seems like one of those things whose utility increases exponentially with the size of the network. Getting some large user, such as the U or the City to “outsource” their fleet functions to ZipCar would bootstrap local carsharing towards a high general-utility network much more quickly than if they had to build users one by one.

    kand, your concerns about jobs seem like a red herring – if the University’s fleet were to be replaced with ZipCars, wouldn’t the ZipCars require as much maintenance and administration as the U’s fleet does? Car mechanics are a very local job – it’s not as if the vehicles are going to be shipped to India for a new muffler, just because they’re suddenly owned by ZipCar instead of the U.


       —TPM    May. 10 '06 - 08:23PM    #
  12. I disagree completely. I must not have explained my point very clearly, as this has nothing to do with shipping anything to India or anywhere else.

    The whole point of Zipcar is that the Zipcar company takes care of the maintanence, insurance, etc. I suspect that they (Zipcar) don’t do their own maintanence, and they contract it out to some chain of auto shops (does anybody know how this works?).
    That means that if any of this stuff is done in-house by the UM (which some of it is, because i see UM fleet cars, etc. up on the racks in the Transp. Dept.’s garage whenever i go there), there won’t be as much demand for maintanence, etc people.

    Otherwise there would be no point in contracting with an outside company. The major savings from outsourcing come from labor cuts…not from parts/materials.

    If the university outsources the entire fleet (or a large portion of it), I will be very curious to see how many university job cuts come out maintanence and related depts. because of this (through attritions or whatever). That’s what i mean by outsourcing…

    And what i mean by this model doesn’t deal with issues of sprawl is that people still will be using an personal automobile to make a trip. It’s great that ridesharing puts multiple people in smaller numbers of vehicles (and this model really isn’t even ridesharing), but it doesn’t really force people (or developers, planning boards, etc.) to think more strategically about where they live, shop, play, etc. or how to lay out neighborhoods and regions more effectively.

    Real fuel consumption and pollution reduction doesn’t occur until you get people to reduce the number of miles they travel or concentrate large numbers of people into a vehicles (i.e. bus, train, etc.). This model produces environmental savings because we wouldn’t have to manufacture cars for every person who wanted to make a trip…it does nothing to reduce trip lengths or revise trip types.

    I do believe that this model has merits, but it has some limitations too. It’s hardly a transportation revolution…it just shifts the status quo a little.


       —kand    May. 10 '06 - 10:05PM    #
  13. I guess I’d be happy to see Zipcar come to Ann Arbor, as one of the more slacker members of A2C3, since we’ve never really managed to give that effort the legs it needs.

    I don’t think car-sharing is any “revolution in transportation”, and I try to shy away from things that bill themselves as such, but I think car-sharing itself is tangential to this presentation. Sounds like they’re talking about the application of information to transportation systems as the place where a “revolution” is possible, which would open up niches in the transportation ecology, such as car-sharing.

    Speaking as a computer science major turned urban planner concentrating on transportation, I wholly agree that “revolution” is a word that could be applied (and very much needs to come about). Wish I weren’t at work during this talk…


       —Murph    May. 10 '06 - 11:46PM    #
  14. kand said: “I suspect that they (Zipcar) don’t do their own maintanence, and they contract it out to some chain of auto shops (does anybody know how this works?). ”

    I think it varies depending on the market they are in; they will likely negotiate maintenance and cleaning contracts with local companies.

    “That means that if any of this stuff is done in-house by the UM (which some of it is, because i see UM fleet cars, etc. up on the racks in the Transp. Dept.’s garage whenever i go there), there won’t be as much demand for maintanence, etc people.”

    Uh, no. There will still be a demand for maintenance people; if Auto Shop X signs the contract, they get more revenue and have to hire more mechanics to keep up with the work load. The U will cut jobs, but they show up somewhere else, so for the economy as a whole it’s not a loss.

    This does mean fewer union jobs, which is a potential concern. What’s the state of the auto mechanics sector around town? Does it pay well? Do workers get a fair shake relative to the union U jobs? IIRC, auto repair work pays pretty well and if you’re good at it, it’s pretty easy to move up to a better paying gig or open your own shop. I know in my blue collar neighborhood growing up, the auto mechanics we knew all eventually moved to Oakland County in to really nice homes…

    And the technology of ZipCar does save some labor. Scheduling happens over the web. Routinized customer service happens on the web and over the phone (though their phone customer service is pretty darn good). Car pickup doesn’t require an attendant. So there’s potential “lost” jobs there, but it also makes the whole operation cheaper to run, which makes it cheaper to use, which makes it more broadly affordable, which means more potential customers, which means larger potential business, which means more jobs in the long run (econ 101) so hip hip hooray.


       —Scott T.    May. 11 '06 - 01:30AM    #
  15. Juliew said: ”... transportation within the city for people who use vanpools and buses and the park and ride so they can do errands while in town. I find this vaguely unsettling…”

    Not just for drycleaning, but imagine a parent who worries they may have an emergency and need to pick up their kid from school (asthmatic; epilepsy; etc.). Having access to ZipCar for that could make or break the difference between commuting by bus or driving in.


       —Scott T.    May. 11 '06 - 01:34AM    #
  16. “And the technology of ZipCar does save some labor. Scheduling happens over the web. Routinized customer service happens on the web and over the phone (though their phone customer service is pretty darn good). Car pickup doesn’t require an attendant. So there’s potential “lost” jobs there, but it also makes the whole operation cheaper to run, which makes it cheaper to use, which makes it more broadly affordable, which means more potential customers, which means larger potential business, which means more jobs in the long run (econ 101) so hip hip hooray.”

    Neocons everywhere would be proud of this paragraph.

    Why not just say what you really mean: “Privatize whatever you can from the public sector because it makes everything more efficient, which always leads to more jobs”? (after all…it’s worked so well for the prison system, the electrical system, places that have privatised their water systems, public transportation, etc.).

    What an absolute load of crap. This plan would take good stable jobs and replace them with ones that could well be lower paying. This is exactly the type of rationale that is keeping michigan in a recession.

    It’s really easy to sit back and talk efficiency when it’s not your livelihood on the line.

    See you all at Wal-Mart!


       —red    May. 11 '06 - 02:27AM    #
  17. Kand said “[carsharing] does nothing to reduce trip lengths or revise trip types.”

    This is not quite true. By participating in carsharing instead of vehicle purchase, you shift the bulk of travel costs away from initial costs (costs that you pay whether or not you use the vehicle like purchase price, insurance, licensing, storage fees, etc) towards marginal costs (fuel, destination parking, etc). This means that vehicle owners has spent a lot of money just getting the car ready to drive, so the more they drive the car, the more they are getting their money’s worth. A carsharing participant has to choose to spend significantly every time they take a trip and have invested very little (annual fee) into making the car drivable. The end result is (supposedly) that carshare participants will make fewer vehicle trips and have lower vehicle miles than a car owner.

    Of course there are other benefits to the community like [drumrollllllll……] parking. Sidestepping the inevitable “no one will ever give up their car to live dowtown” argument for the moment, if we could attract residents downtown who are interested in alternatives like carsharing, downtown resident parking would become extremely efficient.

    So, if zipcar use replaces vehicle ownership, we should see far fewer vehicle trips and miles. My question would be, how many zipcar participants are actually substituting carsharing for ownership? If a large portion of zipcar users are actually people who cannot afford to buy a car, then we may actually be increasing vehicle miles and trips. Of course the parking benefit still stands, and there is a good case for improved transportation equity as well.

    Regarding jobs, assuming reducing vehicle ownership, parking space, trips and miles is a goal of the community and that we are quite certain that carsharing would contribute significantly to that goal, reduced employment associated with attaining that goal should not be considered an insurmountable obstacle. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about lost jobs at the U before there is an actual proposal to consider. This is all conjecture at this point.


       —Scott TenBrink    May. 11 '06 - 03:13AM    #
  18. Seeing red…You know if we built buildings like the Egyptians we would have a lot more job openings but…

    I really do think those Guidance Counselors in high schools should talk to students about the implications of their career choices, and what the future might hold. I am thinking about sail making in the 1870’s, or candle makers in the 1900’s, or typists in the 1980’s. Anyway.

    Scott T. has an important point. My wife and I have two cars; mostly because we also have two children. In the event of an emergency, that is not 911, we both have to be able to respond. For years, BC (before children), we were a one-car home. Maybe ZipCar could help us to get rid of one again.


       —abc    May. 11 '06 - 03:41AM    #
  19. My apologies.

    I’m always in a ridesharing (carpooling/vanpooling) frame of mind…where commutes are pretty much made for work or school-related trips and trip miles are not really decreased. Carsharing has a different purpose.

    Carsharing will do little to increase mobility equity for transit dependant people though. It’s too expensive for that. Many of the people who can not afford cars in this county also can not afford to pay full fares on the bus (hence the reason AATA is one of the few systems in the country to provide low-income reduced-fare passes). Paying $5 an hour or more for transportation is very serious money to many of them.

    This should be raising larger questions though…what factors in the design of this community and its transportation systems makes carsharing necessary? And why aren’t we doing much of anything about it?


       —kand    May. 11 '06 - 04:08AM    #
  20. LOL. I just got called a neocon. Neoliberal would work just as well, but I don’t think I’d take either label.

    “What an absolute load of crap. This plan would take good stable jobs and replace them with ones that could well be lower paying. This is exactly the type of rationale that is keeping michigan in a recession.”

    (sarcasm) Yeah, that’s exactly why Michigan is in recession. (/sarcasm) The reason Michigan’s economy is in the shitter is it was highly dependent on the manufacturing industry (and a specific sector of the manufacturing industry) which basically left. Leaving was made easy by lowered barriers to trade (NAFTA, etc.) and to a lesser extent, improved technology and cheap shipping.

    The problem is jobs weren’t replaced at all; they just left. I think it’s a silly argument to mandate the U to pay for staff when it would be cheaper and better for them to pay a company to provide a comparable service, especially when the company provides a superior service (e.g., I think some of the cleaning and cafeteria companies don’t do a better job but just use cheaper labor; in that case, the outsourcing is just crass; I don’t think this example is the same).

    The mission of the U is to provide a quality, accessible education to Michigan citizens and to do research. Nowhere in the mission is it stated they must maintain an auto fleet. If it saves the U money to do so, great. If it doesn’t, who cares? And I don’t suggest just pink slipping the guys who aren’t needed anymore. Use attrition where you can and give them a sweet severance deal with some of that money you’re saving … and everyone can make out alright.


       —Scott T.    May. 11 '06 - 04:17AM    #
  21. Car sharing makes mass transit systems MORE viable. While a car might not be a daily necessity, it usually becomes necessary on occasion in AA.

    For people with kids, for example, having a ZipCar lifeline makes using the bus or a bike commute practical where they would otherwise need to drive in order to maintain the flexibility of having a car. When I lived in AA, I had an old van I parked on the street that I maybe drove once a week for necessities (and my carless friends borrowed occasionally). If I had had access to a car share, I would have driven less (since the cost per trip would be higher even if the total cost were lower), and there would have been one less car on the streets. Everyone wins. Less cars. Less driving. Less money out of my pocket. Without losing the flexibility of having a car when I need one.

    Having the option of using a car, even when you rarely excercise that option, makes making the choice to rely on mass transit MUCH easier. This is why ZipCar is most successful in cities where cars tend to be less necessary, like NYC. You don’t need a car in NYC, but there are certain trips where a car is damn handy, but renting one for the day is too expensive and too much a hassle and taking a cab is WAY too expensive.


       —Scott T.    May. 11 '06 - 04:28AM    #
  22. Kand,

    I agree that carsharing would do little for those who cannot afford to ride transit. I was envisioning a large population that fell between in the range of unable to own a car (for financial or other reasons) but still able to shell out a few bucks for what they see as necessary, though occasional, car trips. Perhaps that is not a big demographic in Ann Arbor, but may be larger if we consider second household cars.

    Also, clearly carsharing is not a cure-all for transportation, mobility, or accessibility woes. However, by reducing parking demand and encouraging more transit and NMT trips, which tend to be more local, carsharing does contribute to the effort to reduce the need for car trips. And this is not the only or the first effort Ann Arbor has made to improving accessibility. We are also considering increasing downtown density, expanding and promoting transit service (the Link and go!pass programs), and improving pedestrian and cycling infrastructure throughout the city. Insofar as carsharing could further reduce the need for vehicle ownership, I think it is a good addition to this general trend.


       —Scott TenBrink    May. 11 '06 - 05:04AM    #
  23. I just came across this master’s thesis that looks at the role of carsharing in parking demand management through three case studies.

    http://vtpi.org/filosa_carsharing.pdf


       —Scott TenBrink    May. 11 '06 - 06:41AM    #
  24. Scott,

    Ann Arbor is more than just the downtown area.

    Most of the improvements you cited above are tageted toward that area. While there has been marked improvement in mobility management in that area of the city, it’s pretty much business as usual in most other places (and we don’t even need to talk about development in the townships).

    Restriping a road from four lanes to three and adding bike lanes (while important) is hardly sustainable transit-oriented development. Neither is building exclusively-zoned areas where one has to walk significant distances to shop, etc. And neither is creating retail development that is in all ways identical to strip malls built in the 70s and 80s, except that it has a reduced number of parking spaces.

    Why can’t i have mixed-use zoning in my neighborhood south of Arborland (so that we could put little stores like Jefferson market somewhere in my area so i wouldn’t have to walk up to washtenaw)?

    Why do stores have to offset a significant distance from the road to accomdate parking in front of the store (not pedestrian-friendly at all)?

    Why is it so hard to get ped. refuge islands installed on roads like Washtenaw, Platt, etc.?

    Why is no there safe ped. crossing at Washtenaw/I-94?

    Why are many neighborhoods laid out with a collector-artery style road system, which makes it very tough (if not almost impossible) to get a bus through them?

    I’ve already been given answers to these questions by the powers that be, and they’re all pretty much the same: developers still drive planning to a large extent in many areas of the city (and many developers in the midwest still are thinking in terms of cars only).

    Much of the transportation planning (especially that for transit and other alternative means) in Washtenaw County happens after an area is laid out. It’s then up to the transit agencies to figure out how to splice service into these poorly designed areas. This needs to change…Ottawa’s OCTranspo is at the table for new development in their region. Their system looks very different for most others as a result.

    While the city’s efforts should be applauded because they are very much ahead of other cities in michigan, it’s not time to rest on our laurels yet. Most of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County is far from being accessible or pedestrian-friendly.


       —kand    May. 11 '06 - 01:47PM    #
  25. kand, I agree with the general feel of your “larger questions”, though I’d offer a minor change –
    what factors in the design of this community and its transportation systems makes carsharing car ownership necessary?

    Can we agree that this is a better question?

    Because I’m not convinced that “Why is carsharing necessary?” is a bad thing. Let’s imagine a setup where we can answer, “Carsharing is necessary because we live in a place where people can get around without a car 29 days out of the month, and we don’t want them to have to buy a whole car in order to use it 1 day a month.”

    Why are taxis necessary in New York City? Because there are certain trips the subway/bus just won’t do for.

    Why are the subway/bus necessary in New York City? Because there are certain trips walking/biking just won’t do for.

    Carsharing fills a niche for a certain form of travel. A broad spectrum of transportation options – walking, biking, mass transit, taxis, carsharing, carpooling, car rental – makes for a healthier transportation system than a narrower spectrum of options.

    And I would submit that your “why aren’t we doing anything about it?” question is disingenuous – except that Scott TenBrink beat me to it. If you’ve got any ideas on how to make things Go Faster towards a less car dependent landscape, I’m certainly willing to hear them – if you don’t think carsharing will make a bit of difference, well, what will?


       —TPM    May. 11 '06 - 01:54PM    #
  26. Oops – comment overlap. I’ll withdraw my last paragraph, kand, and apologize for calling you out while you were in the process of offering up options.


       —TPM    May. 11 '06 - 02:00PM    #
  27. fyi, for those interested in carsharing (and apparently, destroying the michigan economy ;) ), i recently emailed zipcar to ask about their ann arbor plans. here’s their reply:

    Thank you for your email. We do not have immediate plans to move into the Michigan area, however the best way to let us know your neighborhood is ready for Zipcar is to have your friends and neighbors add their address to our “notify me” page at www.zipcar.com/notify-me. We use this information as a guide to place our next fleet of cars. We do not have franchises at this time.


       —bob kuehne    May. 11 '06 - 02:40PM    #
  28. I went to the talk. Here are some brief notes.

    Robin Chase talked about ZipCar, the business model, the structure of how they expand. 30 to 50 people share the use of one car, and they try to place cars throughout a metro area so that cars are no more than a 5 minute walk from their customers. There was a map of Boston with car density and subscriber density – there, a lot of vehicles were initially placed at T stops.

    She compared the user experience at ZipCar (swipe your proximity card over a sensor that unlocks and enables the car only for you only at a certain time) with the horrible rental experience common in the industry.

    From a marketing perspective the ZipCar is branded as a luxury item – “cool” cars, for people who want to drive a Mini and a Beetle from time to time but who don’t want to own them.

    Economies of scale in the business are considerable.

    She then talked about her latest venture, which was plastics^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ad hoc wireless networks. What if every car could be a hot spot, and that they could talk to each other and to backhaul links so that you got your network connectivity via your car? Described mesh technology from companies like Tropos, $3500 police mesh radio system that’s $45 in cell phone hardware and $3450 in custom software.

    Looking to put open source software radios in cars. If there’s a software update, just blast it out over the air to be picked up. The complete opposite of OnStar (“a cell phone where you can only call your mom”) and a platform for innovation.

    Example of community wireless mesh network: http://www.cuwireless.net/

    As an aside, this community wireless mesh network would have been useful during the talk, because the entire wifi cloud at the Union was down all day today (!@#$%)


       —Edward Vielmetti    May. 19 '06 - 02:01AM    #
  29. The University of Michigan has issued a Request for Proposal for a modest car-sharing program to begin on the UM campus this fall. The intent is to begin with six cars and see how it goes. Article from the Ann Arbor News is here.


       —Juliew    May. 24 '06 - 05:51PM    #
  30. Today’s Ann Arbor News says that Zipcar is starting up on the UM campus with 6 cars.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 30 '06 - 09:52PM    #
  31. As the article notes (and independently confirmed by Scott TenBrink over at Carfree Ann Arbor), although the cars will be parked at three locations proximate to the UM campus, membership is open to regular Ann Arbor citizens who have no UM affiliation.


       —HD    Oct. 30 '06 - 10:24PM    #
  32. Just wanted to let you all know, Zipcar is up and running in Ann Arbor. Check it out: zipcar.com/umich.


       —annie    Nov. 8 '06 - 01:42AM    #
  33. i signed up


       —peter honeyman    Nov. 8 '06 - 03:37AM    #
  34. Peter,
    We’re looking for a local review on zipcar to post on carfree ann arbor. It would be great if you, or anyone else with a membership, were willing to tell us your experience.

    (sorry if this is too much self-promotion in a comment.)


       —Scott TenBrink    Nov. 8 '06 - 07:08AM    #