Day 34: I drove a car today, but it was for science

Zipcar is a solution to a problem we don’t have.

When we decided to go carless, I figured the zipcar car share service would be part of our transportation mix. I just didn’t know which part. I’m still wondering.

I used a zipcar today to go buy gasoline for the lawnmower. That’s something I couldn’t do on the bus, I didn’t want to attempt on a bicycle, and I wasn’t sure an Uber driver would appreciate. Several friends have offered to help with that kind of errand, though, and if we remain carless, it’s an offer we’ll accept and gladly pay back with food, wine or favors. That’s a better solution for us than zipcar.

The big zipcar bogey is density. I had to travel more than two miles to get my car, a Volkswagen Jetta named Garrity. (Yes, zipcars are named.) That’s pretty far away.

A great idea for some

Car sharing seems like a great idea when you’re new to a city and need to haul stuff. The website exudes youth: “The genius of car sharing — it’s like owning a car, without the sucky parts” and fun videos.

It’s easy to sign up online. You pay a $25 application fee and then choose the plan that’s right for you. Hourly rates are $10.

The process of reserving the car was fast and easy. I was a bit worried when I got to the large crowded shopping center parking lot. I didn’t know where the car was parked, but I guessed correctly about the general direction. The zipcar app helped, too. I used the horn button on the app to remotely honk Garrity’s horn.

To unlock the car, you use the zipcar smartphone app or the zipcard that’s part of your welcome package. The key was in the car and tethered to the steering column. The car was clean enough and had plenty of gasoline. I returned the car in less than an hour.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend zipcar. I love the concept. But in our daily lives, it remains a bit of a mystery.