Friday, August 06, 2010

Cambridge Mass. is Carsharing Mecca

In the beginning there was Zipcar.   And there was much rejoicing and sharing of vehicles in Cambridge.  Not surprising, since when they launched in the summer of 2000 vehicles were priced at $4.50/hr. for locations where parking was underwritten and $7/hr. where Zipcar had to pay for the parking.  In those days of yore, Zipcar had 3 chariots in Cambridge (Green/Pleasant, Harvard Square and Kendall Square),  5 in Boston and 2 in Somerville.

Last year, with little fanfare knights from an opposing kingdom, Connect by Hertz positioned 3 upscale chariots in Boston with one almost in Cambridge.  Exactly what their intentions are, remains unclear.

In the 5th month of the 10th year of the new millennium, when moon was full, upstart RelayRides set up shop, inviting vehicle owners to share their chariots with others in the kingdom and in return take a share of the harvest.  Rates were set by yon vehicle owners, ranging from $6 to $12 depending on age and category of the chariot.

Now a 4th carshare has entered the walls of Cambridge - iCar - floating down the Charles in a basket with 10 vehicles at 3 locations.  Ye iCar company offers a diverse selection of merrie chariots — from Suzuki sedans & 4wd, Nissan Cube, Toyotas and even a 15 passenger van —  but the fleete of heart and lead of foote will have to wait since, alas, they have no Mini Cooper (yet).  Chariots are in 4 categories and are priced based on several membership plans:
  • Pay Per Use — with Basic cars at $7/hr and best cars $11.25/hr.
  • Value Savings — prepaid monthly plans offering a Basic cars at $6.30 per hour (as low as $5.95/hr. if you prepay a whole bunch of hours each month)
Bundled miles range from 150 to 180 per day.  Some chariots have GPS navigation systems, others have child seats.  As with other carshares, ye householde livestock must be in a pet carrier.

iCar says its 100% woman-owned and they have more then 30 year experience in the chariot business.

Ladies (and gentlemen) get out your RFID cards and start your engines.