You have likely come across a late model car – a Toyota Prius, BMW 325i or a cute Mini – with the small advert on the door or trunk: Zipcar.
The popularity of the Cambridge-based, membership-based car sharing company is remarkable. What started in 2000 as an idea between friends to share the cost of car usage – members are not responsibility for gas, insurance, maintenance, parking or lease payments – now encompasses more than half a million members (Zipsters) who can use 8,000 cars in 28 states.
While most of the locations that Zipcars can be shared are in neighborhoods in larger cities and on college campuses such as The George Washington University, the company is expanding to close by suburban locations like Newton Center.
With the enthusiastic backing from Sustainable Belmont and the town's Energy Committee – a recent study concluded members of Zipcar and other car sharing programs report a 47 percent increase in public transit trips, a 10 percent increase in bicycling trips and a 26 percent increase in walking trips – the Board of Selectmen are considering allowing Zipcar to use public property as locations to park these cars.
Should Belmont allow Zipcar to park their cars on publicly-owned property?