I want to say thanks to everyone who read my first blog post about this, I was really surprised at the positive feedback I got here’s a link to the earlier blog here: https://brainthrough.co.uk/2017/12/19/8-technology-drivenow-or-zipcar/
I thought I would update as a few things have changed since my 2017.
Which is better?
It’s a bit more tricky now as both have improved but for me it’s still DriveNow they have fixed park and keep system but more importantly to me all the cars are automatic now (I dislike driving manuals), however Zipcar still remains king when it comes to value for money.
Zipcar what’s changed? (I have been a member since 2008 when it was Street Car)
They have copied DriveNow: Something about imitation and flattery springs to mind; Zipcar flex is a copy and paste of DriveNow, all the Zipcar flex cars appear to be automatic, you have the same great freedom of parking which DriveNow has and exactly like DriveNow you don’t have to worry if you run over your intended booking, the pricing for two hours is also exactly the same as DriveNow, you can park the cars in other boroughs too, cars I’ve seen are dominately Polo’s and a few Golfs (I do love a Golf), I am not sure if these cars have keys as I’ve never done a Zipcar flex booking.
App: They fixed the crappy app UK wohooo!!!!!, the APP now works almost flawlessly (1 or 2 hiccups but very rarely), well done APP team and you can end the rental with the APP (I still use the card sometimes, old habits die hard).
MOOAAARRR cars: With Zipcar flex there is clearly an increase in the amount of cars available
ZipVans: I really should of mentioned this as a like in my first post, being able to rent a van is fantastic, the amount of times I have used a Zipvan is astonishing, I have used it to help people move at least 5 times with several trips backs requiring me to go back and forth and Zipvan makes mince meat of Ikea (just wish it could help me carry and assemble the stuff when I get to a destination).
If not for the amazing flexibility of the £29.00 deal I don’t know how I would of done it at times, Zipvan are amazing, stunning value for money and convenient would not be a nice enough word to describe how these things can get you out of a jam, truly love Zipcar for this and not to mention how if you book during cheap hours a certain amount of hours Zipcar automatically adjust the booking for you so it’s £29.00, you can’t mess with this company when it comes to customer service.
Customer service: I mentioned this last time and I will mention it again, I was fortunate enough to join in the StreetCar days and whoever was head of customer services hired right, they are a flawless lot, they actually messaged me to talk about my initial blog post but I never got around to it.
Zipcar maintains good customer service but it’s no Streetcar I once had a donut leave profanities on a voicemail. (Clearly he thought the phone was fully down because you could hear him adjust the receiver after).
Fuel: On the Zipflex cars you can see the amount of fuel in the car, I’m unsure of the fuelling rule on Zipflex i.e. do you get 20mins free driving time if you top up like DriveNow do?
Innovative: They do try and innovate, I remember them trailing a scheme of picking up cars after bookings, it must of not worked out as it soon disappeared but props to them for trying something new.
Congestion Charge: You do not have to pay congestion charge with their rentals as it’s included in the price, something which should NOT be seen as a small gesture, I don’t know the behind the scenes workings but if TFL are not giving them free congestion charge despite the good these car sharing companies are doing; for them to include it in the package shows a genuine customer car IMO.
Lack of automatics: Non-zipflex cars i.e. cars at a cheaper rate are all still manuals *rolls eyes*, honestly for casual daily driving automatic for the win, especially with everything being 20mph, wack on the speed limiter and all is right with the world.
It’s become DriveNow 2.0: In terms of Zip-flex it’s basically a slightly more expensive DriveNow (DriveNow works out cheaper when booking 3 hours+).
Price plan mess: yuk! another subscription service with what feels like a myriad of price plans, someone went to renew their phone contract and got carried away.
I never like paying for anything where there are “minutes” to use especially as they don’t roll over and indirectly encourage you to use the car to get ‘your money’s worth’.
Weekend price hike: I know I mentioned this in the other post but I believe this only effects non-zipcarflex rentals, still silly and I’m not buying any reason for this other than ‘because we can’.
DriveNow what’s changed? (member since August 2017)
Park and keep: A dislike for me previously has now been addressed and I no longer feel like I am playing park and keep roulette! They updated the app to have a park and keep function and I can confirm it works brilliant; I’ve had no issues with it when I can get a signal.
Timer/reminder: They have sorted out this frustrating of mine; now when you book a package the app shows a countdown timer, which has I have found useful.
Pin number: I complained that you have to enter this infront of everyone which almost defeats the purpose; this has been fixed with the app too; you now open the door and enter the pin number on you phone, well done BRAVO. They have sorted out this frustrating of mine; now when you book a package the app shows a countdown timer, which has I have found useful.
App: The App works well and I have had next to no issues with it.
Range of cars: they added the countryman and BMW 2 series active tourer (MPV), both are good additions.
No key: Still an area of frustration; fiddling about with the app when you’ve got bags is not the best, but even worse I cannot go to certain supermarkets with the car as they have underground parking and the car struggles to get a signal; I was once on the phone for over AN HOUR, whilst we fiddled about hoping the car would connect; infuriatingly frustrating.
Fuel card: I mentioned before I did not like this due to pin number just adding a layer of annoyance, to my further dismay despite putting in a correct pin number a card I used was blocked, due to some fraud measure they have in place meaning I had to pay the fuel myself which you can imagine is frustrating but on top of this, the process for getting a refund was a faff and I had to constantly chase them to get this sorted; it has only happened once but once is enough.
Customer services: They need the lady that started up Zipcar to train them, honestly, how can I be delayed and out of pocket and not get even a couple of free hours drives as a ‘we’re sorry’?
Congestion Charge: The amount they charge and they cannot include the congestion charge is beyond stingy, most of my trips are outside of charging hours but this is a joke and honestly shows why one car sharing company does not rule them all.
I know in the previous post I was supposed to sign up and give this a go but I never got around to it; this will have to sit on the to be continued list.
I have been car sharing for over 11 years now and my view is the same as before, I still want my own car but for now I do really like these car clubs when they go smoothly (and the cars are clean); I am averaging circa 3k a year in use which sounds expensive but includes positives like grabbing a van last moment which has bailed me out of a few holes, even if I got my own car, I would still keep membership to both services, especially Zipcar.