An e-zine for happenings of local culture in Milwaukee and elsewhere

How do you get around town? Zipcar Milwaukee is here and growing

Zipcar

Usually the debate about how to get about town in Milwaukee is a decent conversation piece. In the worst cases, it’s the way to find the poles of people’s outlook on life in the city. Wait what’s that? Milwaukee has Zipcar! Now there is even more to talk about, and they’re giving away a Zipcertificate worth $100 to get a worthy Milwaukeean moving (details below).

Get a Move On

As Milwaukee tussles with plowing towards becoming full fledged metropolis or remaining a fragmented mid-sized city of suburbs and enclaves, many urbanists vie for a more robust public transit system by adding variety to available modes. From buses, street cars, to bike shares multiple transportation options decrease reliance on cars and increase urban viability as a matter of public policy. Urban Milwaukee, has provided an ongoing commentary on the Downtown Street Car plan and other transit innovations that have made their way through the wringer a few times, some set to see the pavement in 2014.

Other Milwaukeeans make a conscientious lifestyle or personal finance choice to live car-less relying on any of the above, and in certain fits of principled defiance (read: “fun”) take “pedicabs” and pedal pubs. Others who come to the city from smaller towns, or who are just prideful locals, may swear by nothing other than a personal vehicle for transportation, lest they have their own personal Jim Anchower moment on the bus. It’s quite possible that with Zipcar, Milwaukeeans can now travel the middle ground about town when and how they choose.

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Did you know? Zipcars survived the Polar Vortex of 2014

If You Didn’t Know…

Zipcar is a car sharing business that has served Milwaukee for the past five years. This University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus got them first in 2007, and soon after Marquette University added the Zipcar option. This past August, Zipcar expanded its presence in Milwaukee to serve nearly 20 locations. Zipcar works like a monthly subscription to awesome cars that you can use by the day or hour, accessible right in your neighborhood.

What about insurance? It’s included. What about gas? It’s included, if you follow the very reasonable guidelines. What about the hassle, sounds like a rental car? Leave that to the concierge at the airport, with the deposits, and mandatory rental periods and every changing pricing. You sign up for Zipcar and use the mobile web (iOS or Android) or conventional internet to make a reservation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Modern technology allows you to access the car and drive off without having to talk to a person. Even in an middle of the night emergency you can get to where you have to go, as long as it’s not to Kalamazoo.

Getting the Picture

Have you a friend that’s coming in town on the Hiyawatha or by coach bus from a city like Minneapolis or Chicago that has Zipcar? Say on an occasion your schedules don’t match. If they are signed up they can arrange a Zipcar here, they can explore Milwaukee for an afternoon until you can connect.

If you live around downtown Zipcars are stashed about several neighborhoods for your shopping, business, or personal convenience. Juneau Town on Kilbourn and Van Buren, Eastown on Jefferson and Wisconsin, US Bank Center on Michigan and Cass, Public Market on Broadway and Clybourn, Third Ward at Buffalo and Jefferson all have Zipcars.

Some people need car for an afternoon once or twice a month, why go $15,000 in debt or get a hooptie that’s going to break down when you need it. For many people, Zipcar is a practical way to save money and abide by a low-car diet. You’ll probably be able to enjoy the luxuries of a much nicer car that you can afford while you’re at it.

You’re a responsible adult, so why shouldn’t you be able to drive an Audi Q5, Mini Cooper or Toyota Prius?
To Zipcar affordable does not mean economy. Each of these cars are available in the Milwaukee market in select locations. Other Zipcar makes include Mazda, Ford and Hyundai.

Hybrid City Dwellers

Using Zipcar doesn’t mean you have sold out public transit. Zipcar represents the shared option, which is the next most civil thing to the public option, without the nerve racking of lending or borrowing and bumming rides in someone else’s car. Matter of fact, it’s basically like a bike share but with cars. Well almost. Although our wildest dreams as kids were to put some coins in the kiddy horsey ride and ride off, you’ll actually have to sign up and get your Zip Card in the mail before using Zipcar.

Services like Zipcar are huge steps in the right direction and show the surge in vitality Milwaukee has recently experienced in its city center, so it’s at least worth knowing about. RadioMilwaukee has a spot with Zipcar’s Milwaukee marketing rep, and she’s got a great radio voice you can hear behind the “Love’s Gonna Get Ya”/”Plug Tuning” and “So Watcha Saying”/”Jackin’ for Beats” instrumentals.

To make their 2014 expansion a little more fun, the good people at Zipcar have decided to offer one lucky Milwaukeean, and Local Trolley reader, a $100 Zipcertificate to put towards a Zipcar membership and driving credit, and the folks at Local Trolley are honored to do the honors. To get a shot at starting your low-car diet on the house, “Like” Local Trolley’s Facebook page by January 15, 2014 to cast your lot.

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