While the carsharing firm Zipcar has historically made use only of a per-hour or per-day rental pricing system, the company is now testing a new pay-per-mile pricing system for short trips, in select cities, according to recent reports.
The way that the pilot program works, apparently, is that you pay a nominal per-hour base price ($4.50 to $5.50, or more) and then pay a further 50¢ per mile on top of the base price. This compares to the company’s much higher per-hour pricing, that is accompanied by a 180-mile allotment.
It’s not clear yet if the pilot program will be expanded to include other cities and markets.
Autoblog provides a specific example of the new test scheme’s pricing, noting that “you can rent a Honda Fit in Chicago for $4.50 an hour during the week or $5.50 an hour on the weekends, both of which tack on an additional 50 cents per mile. With regular pricing, a Nissan Versa costs $10.75/hour on a weekday with a 180-mile allotment before extra fees kick in.”
Zipcar is marketing the new test program by saying that the option is for when “you just need to make a short trip” — possibly cutting costs for customers somewhat in those circumstances.
As noted in the above coverage, “of course, if that drive is more than about 10 miles, you’ll be better off with the regularly-priced vehicles. If your destination is within a couple miles though, this could save you some coin while Zipcar is looking to keep pace with ride-sharing and other car-sharing options.”
On a related note, the firm’s earlier announcement that “it would allow customers to keep a vehicle as long as they wanted while changing drop-off locations and destinations as needed” is set to go into effect by December in Michigan.
Image via Zipcar