Living Car Free - Anybody have any experience with Flexcar?
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11-18-07, 11:49 PM
Does anybody have any experience with Flexcar (http://www.flexcar.com/)? I'm moving to Seattle and I'm car free. I was wondering if anyone has use this service and thought it was worth it? In Seattle they have a $35 annual membership, and a $10 an hour and $75 a day charge. Gas is also covered.
11-19-07, 12:11 AM
I personally don't, but my brother uses it, as does my housemate. They're very happy with it and feel it's worth it.
11-19-07, 09:53 AM
I live in Seattle, don't own a car, and have used Flexcar for the last three years. For the most part it has worked out very well. As long as you live in the city limits they have good coverage although it gets better the closer you get to downtown.
11-19-07, 12:39 PM
We're members in Portland. We use it only 4-5 times a year, for going places beyond a day's biking range. We like it, particularly the ability to get a truck, wagon, van or whatever as needed. Without it, not owning a car (as a family) would be a bit more of a stunt, ideological sacrifice, etc. We live within 5 minutes by folding bike of at least a dozen pickup locations.
11-19-07, 06:09 PM
Yup, I use it and I heavily enjoy it. I use the 10 a month with 3 free hours plan. It's nice for those odd occasions where I just need to pick something up far out.
I've used it once in Pittsburgh -- pick-up spot is incredibly convenient, car was nice, good mileage, a tad pricey for my tastes ($8-10/hr), but I'd use it again if I had to pick something up from way out in the 'burbs.
11-20-07, 09:42 AM
I'm a member under the Seattle Flexcar's "JARC" (Job Access something something...I forgot what the R and C stood for) program. Basically, if you're looking for work in Seattle, you can sign up under that program and the membership fee is free for the first year. Plus, for the first 6 months/180 days of membership, you get to rent cars at discounted rates (around $5-7 an hour instead of $10-12). And for job-related stuff like interviews, orientations/training, they let people rent cars for around $3 an hour.
I'm kinda disappointed in their response time, because I ended up going to an interview and two job fairs before my membership package came in, right before I had two more job interviews to do. I managed without Flexcar for a while, and then the package came in, so it caused me to question what the point was of having a Flexcar membership was again?
Oh well. I got to test drive a Honda Civic Hybrid and a Mini Cooper, two cars I've never driven before. Didn't like the Mini very much :(
You should check out the rates for Zipcar before making up your mind. Flexcar recently merged with Zipcar and will be switching their fleet over to Zipcar in the future.
I am a member of both Flexcar and Zipcar and, so far, I haven't had a problem with either. A co-worker, however, recently reserved a Zipcar to take him to an important meeting, only to find out the car would not start when he went to pick it up. He called Zipcar and they redirected him to another available car. It also would not start.
The vehicles, and choice of vehicles, are nice. Their web reservation system works well. Gas and insurance are 'free'.
My only serious complaint about flexcar, is that if you reserve a vehicle for some period of time, and then you want to extend the reservation you call the 800 number and see if it's available or not, since someone might have already reserved it for the time after your reservation ended. Or, if you want to take it back early, you still have to pay for that time (unless someone else reserves it after you cancel that portion of the reservation). This all obviously makes sense from flexcar's perspective. Basically, sharing and planning ahead is sometimes a pain.
Having a car of your own that you can take anywhere for any length of time is nice, esp. in Seattle where there are so many things to do outside of the city. That said it's a huge investment to buy a vehicle, and it probably didn't make sense financially or environmentally (we bought a used small truck after using flexcar after a year or so).
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