First of all, I hope you are all enjoying a lovely Easter break! I wanted to share with you what I’ve been doing recently to help me work towards my 10:10 pledge (as an individual, and as a business too!). My family recently moved to a car-free development so when our residents parking permit ran out, we had to sell our car (and the roof box) on Ebay. This was a relatively hassle-free experience in the end (Ebay is a very efficient process if you are a seller) and we were happy with the prices we got, but the next step was worrying about how we were going to get around on those unavoidable occasions when we will need wheels.
Step forward, Zipcar. We had researched some other companies but Zipcar is the only one that currently lets you take pets on board (in a pet carrier) so it was a no-brainer for our family. Also, I caught them doing a promotion outside Waitrose, so was able to join for £25 a year plus £30 free driving time – not bad! This meant I was able to scurry home with the Zipcar card in my hot little hand ready to activate, rather than waiting for them to send it.
My husband and I then had a look at the site, logged in and booked a car for a Saturday drive to Epping Forest with the kids and Dexter the dog. The site is VERY easy to use, it allows to you select your nearest car for the block of time you want. In our area, the nearest car (they all have names, bless) was very popular and seemed to be booked out for a whole week, so we had to choose one about ten minutes walk away. This is a tad inconvenient if you have a dog in a pet carrier, but my husband nobly went and fetched it. Wow factor? If you have an iPhone, you can UNLOCK the door with it once you’ve installed the Zipcar app and make the car HONK. It’s like being James Bond, or Knight Rider or something. The kids (and my husband) love this.
The car itself was a VW Golf, which seems to be a popular model. It was very clean, our only complaint was that it smelt very faintly of smoke. Possibly someone just used it who had been in a smoky venue, who knows. You pay for petrol with their complimentary credit card, but ours had a full tank anyway, so off we sped to Epping Forest. The dog thought that as he was in his crate, he must be on his way to the vet, and whimpered all the way, but hopefully he’ll get more relaxed about this! We had a lovely walk for an hour or two, and then faced a slight obstacle – muddy boots. In our old car, we’d have just hopped in merrily and lived with the dirt. However, we had brought a towel to clean the dog, luckily, with so put the boots on this and put him back in his carrier. My husband returned the car to its bay, with a farewell honk or too.
We’ll be continuing to use this service and are very happy with it – we may not use it so much for driving out of London for UK holidays, as it works out a little less economically, but in London and around I think it will be a lifesaver. And we are saving ourselves between £1500 – £2000 a year from our old car’s running costs – it will take a lot of Zipcar trips to get anywhere near that!