Zipcar has pulled into the app store with its iPhone app which augments the Zipcar services for customers. The Zipcar iPhone app lets customers locate available cars in the surrounding area, reserve the Zipcar, and even do some really original things like honk the horn in the Zipcar, and lock and unlock the doors, all from the app.
From the Zipcar app you can log into your account and find and reserve a car easily. The mobile app is a great selling point that tightly matches the use of the Zipcar service with current subscribers. The app shows you a set of pointers on a map showing cars close to you. Then you can tap to reserve a car you like. View cars by type and model and get directions to the Zipcar. Once you get in close proximity of your car, the Zipcar app lets you easily find the car by tapping the honk button, which actually honks the car’s horn. And the app also lets you unlock the car by tapping the virtual key which actually activates the car’s remote entry system and unlocks the doors. The app also allows for viewing your upcoming reservations and canceling active bookings.
If you are not a customer, but want to sign up for Zipcar, the app doesn’t currently provide a simple way, but opens up Safari to the regular Zipcar website where you can sign up. This isn’t exactly 2009 iPhone app technology, but we can live with it for now. If you don’t have a Zipcar account and just want to try out the honk and door unlocking features, there is a dummy virtual key fob in the app that simulates making the sounds on a virtual car remote.
If you don’t know too much about Zipcar, its a subscription based car rental service started in 1999 with ad hoc pick up and drop off features and it includes all insurance and fuel costs. The service costs $25 to join, and $50 per year, plus fixed rates per hour or per day as you use their cars. You get 180 free miles per day. Zipcar services are currently offered in major U.S. cities, Cananda and the UK. Zipcar is perfect for new residents, short term stays and the service could even be great even if you just want to try driving different cars, although the annual and application fees might deter casual users. Now the Zipcar iPhone app gives you greater flexibility in finding and reserving a car, which is a great example of the iPhone reshaping how people live their lives every day.
Here is a video demo of the Zipcar app on the iPhone
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