Zipcar Rentals - Why didn't I think of that?

Just when you think that no one can come up with any more creative solutions to transportation in the city, enter the Zipcar rental system. We were just in Boston to help my son move and he arranged for us to get a Zipcar for the day, and then two other times for runs to a picnic and to Costco. The cost? $7 and hour, which includes gas. How does it work? You apply for an account. As an MIT student you get a discount. This has all your pertinent info. Everything is done online. Zipcars are parked at most major parking garages, near the dorms, etc. Just a few cars per spot. Reserve online and pick up at the designated time. Key entry is with your card through a sensor on the front windshield. This unlocks the car, the key is always inside. Drive your car for the time you reserved. If you are running late you can call the reservation system and increase the time if there is no one waiting for the car. If you are late...major penalties, like on the order of $75. Need gas, there is a gas card included, just return the car with at least 1/4 tank. Problem with the car, just call in, to report a dent in the door at pickup or to report that your car is not available. Whoever came up with this is brilliant. Sorta like FedEx, a change in the paradigm of how we think of a service like car rental. I can see that this is the future of rentals in the city. Instead of a 6 day rental at Avis ($465) plus all the associated gas and parking fees (say $150), the Zipcar ended up costing less than $200.  Ok, enough of the advertisement...try to rent one if you can. Boston is also home for the Institute of Contemporary Art. We found the exhibits to be excellent and were surprised to see the entire works of Shepard Fairey (the creator of the Obama Hope poster). The building is also quite unique and we enjoyed the quality of the interior spaces and the views of the waterfront from within. There were also very nice public spaces on the exterior facing the water. Worth a visit.