I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that Zipcar, the Avis-owned car-sharing service that made it possible for me to live car-free in Seattle, now has a Las Vegas presence. The bad news is that most of us will need to take a cab or a bus to make use of it. But we can change that.
Last July, Avis quietly stationed four Zipcars at McCarran’s Rent-a-Car Center at Gilespie and George Crockett Rd. — two Ford Focuses, a Prius and a Mazda 3 hatchback. (Zipcar members can reserve one here.) They were placed there as part of Zipcar’s expansion into airports — and it’s worth noting that Nevada was one of only 12 states to receive airport Zipcars, and only one of four states where Zipcar didn’t already have a city presence. I’m tempted to reserve one today, just so I can drive a victory lap on the Beltway.
But it’s a long way from Downtown to McCarran, too far to be of practical use to anyone living in DTLV. These Zipcars are obviously intended for business travelers, day visitors; you zip in, take your Vegas Tech meeting, and zip out. It’s going to take some doing to convince Avis to move some of those cars into residential areas — and according to a company representative, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
“We are constantly monitoring our member feedback, as well as usage, to see if it makes sense to expand a program,” says Zipcar public relations associate Jennifer Matthews. “It’s great to hear you would like to see Zipcars outside of the airport. I don’t think you’re alone.”
I hope I’m not. So, here’s the plan: I’m going to make use of those Zipcars while I’m at the WENDOH offices, which is fairly close to the McCarran rental lot. And I’m going to suggest — both here, and in subsequent letters to Avis — that they consider moving some of those Zipcars to other Avis offices in the Valley, particularly to those in Midtown (at the Sears Auto Center, next to the Boulevard Mall) and Downtown (at the Four Queens). If you want to help me out with this, you can email the company directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, as I did in a state of giddiness this past Sunday.
Car sharing has come to Las Vegas, well ahead of the Downtown Project’s attempt to create it from scratch and well below their suggested price point. And we didn’t have to beg for it; Zipcar came here of its own volition. Now, all we have to do is keep them here. Let’s do that.