As the Beacon Hill Blog reported last week, Zipcar (which took over from homegrown Flexcar earlier this year) is eliminating the only two cars accessible from North Beacon Hill (one of which also serves Columbia City). Both locations are within a stone's throw of light rail stops. Zipcar's web site, which encourages people to "Give someone access to a whole fleet of cars to drive whenever they want" for Christmas, does not mention that the company is cutting its service to South Seattle.
In an email last week, Zipcar informed South End Zipcar members that “The Zipcar location at Beacon Ave S/Lander St is being closed December 31, 2008, but have no fear — there’s a Zipcar located just down the street at S Charles St/Hiawatha Place.”
What qualifies as "just down the street," in Zipcar's world, is a car a mile and a half away, down Rainier Avenue and across I-90 in Judkins Park. Although Columbia City members will still have access to one Zipcar (down from four a year ago), residents of Holly Park and points south have lost all their Zipcars—a further sign that Zipcar has little or no interest in serving people who rely on transit—the primary target market for traditional carsharing programs.
Calling Hertz—a huge potential new market is waiting.