When it comes down to venturing out and about – I am the first to admit that I don’t do it often. I am one of those ones that love going home after a work, having a hot bath, getting in to my pj’s and lounging in front of the TV with a pizza – fact. It’s not that I don’t like going out, because of blogging, I am super grateful that I get to meet PR’s for coffee and cake, I get invited to the most incredible events and I get to network with some amazing bloggers. As a blogger, I go to events and meetings in the city and I always try to work out my route so that I can get to as many as possible and spend sufficient time at each location, however, sometimes I have to get from one end of London to another and adding in travel, it doesn’t actually give me a lot of time to mingle and fully focus at each event because I’m so conscious about getting to the next one (my record is still nine events in one day, it was exhausting). Having just said all of that, I wouldn’t change anything as my blog is now my brand and I am so proud of how far it has come.
I know I may have just rambled on a bit too much for an intro – I do have a tendency to do that nowadays, I do apologise, but I was setting the scene you know, haa! There is actually something I wanted to bring to your attention today and something I trialled recently that, in my opinion, is an amazing idea and such a great service to use – allow me to introduce you to: Zipcar ‘Flex’.
Background on Zipcar
Zipcar is the world’s largest pay-as-you-drive car club with over one million members signed up. There are more than 12,000 vehicles across 500 cities and towns in the UK, USA, Canada, Spain, France, Belgium, Turkey, Taiwan, Iceland and Costa Rica. Specifically with Zipcar UK, their main aim is to provide consumers and businesses with access to a range of vehicles close to where they live and work. Especially for those in the city, to help avoid the hassle of car ownership but give them the option of getting around quickly and conveniently - hiring a car complements public transport and reduces congestion by taking more cars off the city roads as a whole. Zipcar operates in major cities such a London, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, and Glasgow with London being the largest Zipcar network.
Flex was newly introduced by Zipcar this year and is currently only available in certain London boroughs. It allows customers to spontaneously jump in to car, drive to a destination and drop it off within an approved Zipzone meaning you don’t have to take it back to where you picked it up from making it convenient for all sorts of trips. If using Flex, you will most likely come across a Volkswagen Polo, the reason for this model of car is because it’s small, sleek looking and great for urban driving. Another key benefit of Flex is that you pay for the exact time you drive for, so you can head to an area, drop it off in an approved zone, spend a few hours running errands, meeting friends or shopping and then book another car to head to your next destination. Parking, fuel and congestion charges are all counted for in the hire, so that’s definitely three less things to worry about.
The application process including plans
Before setting up the app, an online registration is needed. All you have to do is select a plan from the three options:
- Basic: usually a one-off fee of £19, but currently free – best suited for people who want to give Zipcar a try
- Smart: £6 per month, including £6 credit – best suited for those who use Zipcar occasionally
- Plus: £15 per month, including £15 credit – best suited for people who use Zipcar frequently
Fill in the form and upload a few pictures of your driving license. The application is sent off to be approved by Zipcar which takes a couple of days and once approved, your app is ready to go and you will be sent a Zipcar card in the post.
The app and How to use
The Zipcar app, available on both iPhone and Android is super easy and quick to navigate around. Book a car by simply tapping on ‘Drive’ and then search for a car. A map will come up on the screen and show you where your nearest Zipcar is – green dots are Roundtrip cars and blue dots are Flex cars. You can also scroll across the bottom to see the types of cars available and how far they are from you. Once you’ve selected your car and confirmed your reservation, directions will come up on the screen to show you how to get to the car. A super clever thing about this app is that as you get closer to the car and you want to know exactly where it is, there is the ‘Honk’ function which allows you to hear the sound of the honk so it’s easier to locate. Once you’ve found the car, with one quick easy tap, the car is unlocked, the keys are in the glove box and off you go. Dropping off - again, is fast and easy – locate an area in the Zipzone which is shaded blue on your app, find an approved parking spot, this can be either permit spaces, a parking bay or on a single yellow line, pop the key back in the glove box, get out of the car, then tap ‘Lock’ on the app and it’s all done. Now the car is vacant and ready for the next customer.
My overall thoughts
Going back to my long-winded intro, now you know why I wanted to set that scene. In my opinion, this service is perfect for me when I need to get around the city dashing from meetings to events to lunches to meetings again and back to events, because of the convenience of being on the road and easy parking spots at all times. However, it doesn’t just appeal to me in that way - last weekend, I took my friends out for brunch in Central London and going out in London on the weekends is something I rarely do because public transport is always a pain (engineering works and all sorts), parking is generally a bugger and now that the weather is getting colder, it makes me less likely to want to travel. But, with Zipcar, I don’t have to worry about train times, or parking or being cold because I’ll be in a lovely little car and still be able fulfil all my wishes of brunching in the most fabulous lunch spots, getting to events and meetings with ease and Christmas is only a month away, so I’ll be able to get all my shopping in the boot without having to worry about carrying it all on the tube. Conclusion of Zipcar Flex – BIG thumbs up!
Now, if that wasn’t good enough to make you want to sign up (which is free), the lovely peeps at Zipcar are offering all of you guys £25 credit to spend on car hire (subject to approval), that’s 80 minutes’ worth of driving! You can sign up using this link and then enter my code: Julie Ly and voila, once approved, you’re all set to go. You can thank me later!
*This post is sponsored by Zipcar. All opinions are honest and my own.