Friday, March 6, 2009

The best thing since sliced bread, or Car trouble revisited

Zipcar has proved its mettle sooner than I’d anticipated. Late Sunday I learned that the following evening I’d need to attend a city council meeting and to potentially speak about an environmental award. My wife had a longstanding commitment at the school where she teaches, also on Monday.
The complications:
1. Both meetings started at the same time, which also happens to be when our son goes to bed.
2. Our son is teething, which makes him exceedingly disinclined to go to sleep.
3. We just got rid of one of our cars. The plan was that we’d sign up for ZipCar, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
4. We didn’t know this at the time, but our son was also exceedingly disinclined to go to sleep because he was coming down with the stomach flu.
There was no way I could get the ZipCard in time, but I figured that since I had a few free minutes at lunch, I’d at least go to the web site and set up an account, so it would be available for the next mini-crisis. I spent about five minutes filling out forms on the website.
Bang. Twenty minutes later, I had my ZipCard in hand. In less time than it takes to have a fast food meal, I had the power to grab a car all over (and around) DC, and several other cities should the notion take me. As it turns out, you can pick up your card from a ZipCar office moments after filling out the online forms. (You can also get the card mailed to you, but where’s the fun in that?) The entire face-to-face piece of the transaction took about two and a half minutes.
So, I got on the web, reserved my car, picked it up from the Metro station after work, did the meeting, and was back home with Junior before you can say, “Bob’s your uncle”. I got where I needed to be in a hurry, did so in a fuel-efficient vehicle, and I’m not making car payments. ZipCar’s a winner.

6 comments:

Sue said...

Hurrah! Makes me want to live in the D.C. area!

Pat Jenkins said...

well if YOU won the award erd i congratulate you!!... and continued success "zipping" around town!

E. R. Dunhill said...

Sue,
It's a good time to buy. If you're ever scouting for a place in the area, I'm happy to lend a local's perspective.

E. R. Dunhill said...

PJ,
Thank you, but I was among those who were granting the award. The recipient was a community in my city that has a fantastic urban forestry program. They've been exemplary stewards for years, but last year, they secured some grant money that helped them to invest nearly $10k in new tree plantings. They mobilzed about 30 volunteers from their community for a fall tree planting event, supplemented that with some professionals, and planted about 100 trees, mostly of native varieties. I'd love to see other communities follow their lead.

Chris Crawford said...

$100 per tree? That's a little steep, dontcha think? Even a five-gallon tree from a nursery is maybe $30. Free planting labor. Perhaps a bit of money for a protective frame. $100 seems pretty steep to me. Plain old reforestation runs to less than $5 per tree.

E. R. Dunhill said...

Chris,
A significant number of these were large trees, as opposed to the little ones that you typically see at tree plantings.