Zipcar’s half-hour cheat

From: Brian M.
Date: Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 4:54 PM
Subject: Suggestion regarding Zipcar’s online reservation system

First, I love Zipcar in general and all the great ways the company takes advantage of the latest technology, whether it’s the keycard access or hybrid cars, or the many ways you use online and internet technology to make things easy for us customers.

That being said, I have a small suggestion for the mobile version of your online reservation system: please change the default time for the start of a reservation to round up, not down.

When I make a reservation on my iPhone at, say, any time between 4:00p and 4:30p, the default starting time that the reservation software assumes is 4:00p – it rounds down. And it’s “costly” in terms of how many page refreshes and clicks I have to make in order to change it to a more useful time.

If I’m on my phone to get a Zipcar, chances are I’m either within walking distance of the car or standing right next to it. OK, maybe in that case it makes sense to default the time to round down, so that I can immediately get in the car and drive off. But if I’m making a reservation anytime between 15 and 30 minutes past the most recent half-hour mark, most of the time I’m willing to wait a bit so that I can get the whole half-hour segment I’m paying for, rather than just a fraction of it.

Honestly, it feels like I’ve been cheated in that case, simply because I didn’t go through the hassle of clicking and changing the start time to a point in the future.

Would it be possible for the software to default to the next half-hour, rather than the previous half-hour? Or can you pro-rate me the time I don’t actually use?

In any case, I still think you guys rock, and I’ve been a customer of Portland Zipcar since two mergers ago (Remember FlexCar? I forgot what the company was called before FlexCar but that’s when I originally joined).

Brian Moon


To: Brian M
Date: Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 3:54 AM
Subject: Re:Suggestion regarding Zipcar’s online reservation system

Dear Brian,

Thank you for writing. We do welcome your feedback and your suggestions regarding the current reservation systems. We will pass it along. We compile our member’s ideas and decide on them in future planning sessions. Thanks!


Zipcar Member Services

Does that seem like a brush-off to you, too?