Zipcar is testing out a pilot program it calls the "Access Plan" in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada, that requires no annual fee. It's a weekday program available only Monday through Friday – excluding holidays – that allows members to drive some Zipcars and Zipvans (where available) at a lower cost.

The program's hourly or daily rates include gasoline, insurance and limited kilometers per day (125 kilometers versus 200 km for the existing plan). The hourly rates are the same as a regular Zipcar plan – starting at $9 (Canadian) an hour in Toronto ($78 per day), and $8 in Vancouver ($72 per day). Cars can be reserved for as short as an hour, or for multiple days. A one-time insurance background check, which also costs money, is required. Scroll below for more information on the plan.

The company is offering its Access Plan to meet a broader array of consumer needs, said Scott Griffin, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. It also gives renewing members a new option if they're infrequent drivers but prefer to keep their membership active without an annual fee. The plan is targeted to consumers who are looking to use Zipcar as a second car, need access to Zipvans for moves and transporting bulky items and are looking for other options in trying out Zipcar, the company said.

Last week, rental car giant Avis announced an acquisition of Zipcar. Bernstein Liebhard LLP quickly followed up with an announcement of an investigation into the deal, wondering if Zipcar "breached its fiduciary duty to its shareholders in agreeing to sell Zipcar to Avis Budget Group, Inc."
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Zipcar Launches Membership Offer with No Annual Fee
Zero Membership Fee 'Access Plan' Starts in Canada


CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zipcar, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIP), the world's leading car sharing network, today announced a new weekday, no annual fee driving program called the 'Access Plan,' which will be introduced as a pilot program in Toronto and Vancouver, Canada.

The Access Plan lets members drive Zipcars and Zipvans (where available) from Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Zipcar Access Plan hourly and daily rates include gas, insurance and limited kilometers per day. Cars can be reserved for as short as an hour or for multiple days. Access Plan hourly and daily rates will be the same as Zipcar's existing plan - starting at $9 an hour in Toronto ($78 per day) and $8 in Vancouver ($72 per day). A one-time fee for an insurance background check is required for all plans. For more information on joining the Access Plan, visit www.zipcar.com/accessplan.

"As the world's largest car sharing network, it is natural for us to continue to evolve our service to meet a broader array of consumer needs," said Scott Griffith , chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "This new pilot plan is a key step in that direction. The Access Plan offers full entry to our entire network during weekdays without committing to an annual fee. This new plan also gives renewing Zipsters a new option if they are infrequent drivers but prefer to keep their membership active without an annual fee, just-in-case."

The Access Plan is ideal for consumers who:
  • Would like to test drive Zipcars without committing to an annual fee
  • Primarily need to drive on the weekdays
  • Are looking to use Zipcar as a second car
  • Need access to Zipvans for moves and transporting bulky items, or
  • Would like Zipcar as a ready-to-drive option but aren't sure how frequently they'll need a car
All Zipcar memberships include the ability to reserve vehicles across the entire network of cities in North America and Europe.

Access Plan members can easily upgrade to Zipcar's existing membership plan if they need weekend/holiday wheels or want to drive more kilometers per day.

"We look forward to helping members discover the savings and convenience of Zipcar compared to other personal transportation options during the weekday," continued Griffith.

Features of Zipcar's Access Plan and Existing Plan:

Access Plan

Existing Plan

One-time insurance check fee

Toronto ($30)

Vancouver ($25)

Toronto ($30)

Vancouver ($25)

Annual fee

$0

$65

Zipcar

Monday – Friday

Every day

Zipvan

Monday – Friday

Every day

Daily km allowance

125km

200km

Vehicle access*

Excludes luxury cars (e.g. BMW 3-series)

All cars

Hourly / Daily rates

Toronto (starting from: $9/$78)

Vancouver (starting from: $8/$72)

Toronto (starting from: $9/$78)

Vancouver (starting from: $8/$72)

Gas/Insurance

Included

Included


*Includes more than 20 types of vehicles. Excludes access to Zipcar's luxury vehicles and does not include holidays. Zipvans are currently available in Toronto only.

About Zipcar
Zipcar is the world's leading car sharing network with more than 767,000 members and over 10,000 vehicles in urban areas and college campuses throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain and Austria. Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles by the hour or day to residents and businesses looking for smart, simple and convenient solutions to their urban and campus transportation needs. More information is available at www.zipcar.com.

Photos and b-roll footage are available for media purposes at www.zipcar.mediaroom.com.