Driving Without a Car (huh?)

Driving Without a Car (huh?)
by Linda

There are many reasons NOT to have a car in the city of Chicago. There is ample public transportation, Chicago has the highest gas prices in the nation currently, parking is a hassle, parking tickets are an even bigger hassle (they sometimes lead to boots, towing, and further legal matters), cars contribute to the pollution and congestion in the city, cars are expensive to insure, keep up, keep safe, etc. The list goes on.

BUT…..sometimes you just want a car to go grocery shopping, drive to the outlet malls, pick your friend up from the airport, take a trip to IKEA, drive around and listen to music cranked up, singing with the windows rolled down, etc. So, how do you access a car without having one, worrying about borrowing one, or committing grand theft auto? One option is taking part in a car-sharing program.

At this point there are two in Chicago, I-Go (http://www.igocars.org/) and ZipCars (http://www.zipcar.com/), both of which have car lots here in Hyde Park as well as throughout the city.

How It Works:
1.) Join one of the programs. There is an initial fee and both programs offer different price packages based on what you will use the car most for–distance or time.
2.) Reserve a car either online or by phone. Usually you can do this in a fairly short amount of time before you need the car, so if you decide on a whim you need a joyride, you can do it.
3.) Pick up your car. Both companies have lots all over the city and all cars can be opened with your membership card. Inside the car you will find the keys and all things necessary for automobile travel.
4.) Drive the car! For both companies gas and insurance are included. Fuel cards are in the car and I-Go even rewards you for filling the gas tank and washing the car by giving you a $2 bonus off of your next reservation.
5.) Return the car. Return the car to the lot and voila! Automotive desires are satiated.
6.) Oh yeah, and billing. Trip prices are determined by which plan you have selected.

For more details visit the companies’ websites and please as post your thoughts and experiences here!

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