Car sharing companies get free parking in Washington, D.C.

| January 24, 2014

With car sharing growing as a phenomenon, and with free parking for car sharing becoming a reality in Washington D.C., its popularity is likely to zoom. Many are embracing car sharing because it makes economic sense, and this new policy will help them save even more money.

Zipcar in Washington D.C.

Zipcar in Washington D.C. Image by Kate Mereand-Sinha

In a deal struck between the District Department of Transportation and ZipCar, the latter will get a Zone 9 permit exempting its vehicles from paying at metered spots. Zipcar let members rent its 850 cars in Washington D.C. by the hour. Residential parking restrictions don’t apply to Zipcars now, either.

How much will this cost Zipcar?

For this privilege, Zipcar will fork out $255,000 annually. This works out to $300 a car. Zipcar only pays this fee for the time its cars are rented, as most of the time its cars are parked snugly in Home Spaces (when they are not in use). Home Spaces are parking spots on the street that car-sharing companies pay $2,980 a year for, to park their cars when they are not being used. Zipcar has 40 such spots, while another company Car2Go has 450.

What’s in it for ZipCar?

“We’re trying to make car sharing a reasonable way to live in the District and to allow District residents to own fewer cars and reduce pressure for parking for everyone,” says Sam Zimbabwe, Associate Director of Planning and Policy, District Department of Transportation. 

Advantages and possible fallouts

Car sharing might be a viable option for those looking to watch a ballgame live. Since parking around the Nationals Ballpark is mostly limited to residents, a car share may make sense for spectators traveling from other parts of the city.

Although they would have to pay the hourly fee for renting the car, users would save on parking. For those who need to visit downtown or Capitol Hill, where parking rates are high, car sharing can be a relief. Even commercial car companies might find prepaying for parking spots a smart move.

Eventually, the Zone 9 permit could result in car sharing becoming too popular, in areas like the ballpark, which might inconvenience residents. Zipcars will still need to be returned to the place they were taken from.

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Category: Parking

About the Author ()

A graduate in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India, Nupur also has an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University. Nupur is currently trying to be as savvy a cook as she is with a book. She likes watching plays and sunsets. Nupur first lived in Kolkata and then for a decade in Delhi, still her favorite city.

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