Zipcar weekend rental rates to increase this summer

Zipcar users in the District may have a more expensive summer than expected, now that the car-sharing company has announced an increase in its weekend car rental rates.

Zipcar users who want to rent a car for an entire day on the weekends during the summer season – which the company considers to be May through October – will see a $10 rate increase, the company’s spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.

Weekend day-long rentals currently start at $69, depending on the customer’s membership plan.

In addition to the price increase for day-long rentals on the weekends, Zipcar will also extend its weekend rates to include Fridays.

“We have not increased rates in 2 years,” Zipcar spokesman John Williams said in an e-mail.

Operational costs – like investments in technology, costs of cars and insurance, and fuel prices – have continued to rise and thus necessitated the change, Williams said.

The increase, which will only affect those using Zipcars in the District, is a tactic the company has successfully applied to other markets around the country, Williams said. Despite the rate increase, Williams said the company plans to increase the amount of cars available for hourly rentals Monday through Friday.

Many Zipcars are parked near campus and are available to students over the age of 18. Despite the rate increase, Williams said he thinks students will continue to use Zipcar, as the service remains cheaper than renting or owning a car.

“With gas nearing $3.00 a gallon, a student would likely pay more just for gas on a day long road trip than the increase in the daily rate for Zipcar,” Williams said.

Some students said they are not alarmed by the price increase.

“I first used Zipcar when I needed to go to Costco and didn’t want to take the Metro because of all the things I would need to carry,” sophomore Yael Linker said. “It was so convenient, and the company was so helpful, I would definitely use them in the future, regardless of the cost increase.”

Sophomore Alex Bachich said she is not concerned about the rise in price, as it applies only to the summer months.

“Even though I’ve used Zipcar in the past, I didn’t think about [the rise in prices] much because I probably won’t be using Zipcar that often during those months,” Bachich said.

Yet others, like freshman Niki Grant, said they are frustrated by the rise in price.

“I’ve used Zipcar a lot in the past month to get my volleyball team back and forth from tournaments, both on weekdays and weekends,” Grant said. “The price increase makes me a lot less inclined to use the service because the prices are already outrageous.”

Zipcar is hopeful that students will continue to use its car-sharing services despite the rate changes, Williams said.

“We understand that everyone is concerned right now with finances. We hope that students will consider the entire value of the Zipcar program,” he said.

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