Hoboken cars: Thinking outside the box

8/18/2010:

Here is some out of the box thinking for you!

Hoboken411, since the idea was born back in 2005, has always offered an alternative (and logical, factual) opinion to the De facto (and often misguided) perception that exists in town these days – for practically anything out there.

Case in point is the Hertz on Demand (formerly Connect by Hertz) “Corner Cars” in Hoboken.

In no way am I wholly opposed to the concept – not at all. In fact, I refer to it as “rental cars 2.0,” because it (as well as Zip Cars) truly is an easier way to obtain temporary usage of a vehicle, without the long-time, outdated method of renting a car the traditional way.

Residents (mostly non-car owning) may now be more apt to use the cars for errands they’d otherwise wait to complete (either via friends, or other methods). It certainly has potential – and may quite be the future of car rentals, but not without hiccups along the way.

Why only Hertz; and is this a pipe dream?

However, a few things I strongly feel the need to point out first:

  • I’m concerned with the city “relationship” with Hertz. If Hoboken wants to promote less vehicular “ownership,” and more car “sharing,” then why is it that City Officials ONLY promote Hertz? When the original “hourly rent-a-car” service – ZipCar – has been here FOR YEARS? In fact, they have the same amount of cars that Hertz does, and essentially the same exact service!

    In the spirit of “transparency,” why doesn’t the city also promote ZipCar, to give residents a choice to pick whomever they want to use (i.e., capitalism)? Is there a hidden reason why? Alternatively, if the city wishes that Zip Car abandon the Mile Square, they ought to be up-front about it – and explicitly communicate that fact. Because they’re saying nothing, or better yet – not giving Zip Car equal, if not MORE “face time,” leads one to believe something fishy is going on. Some residents I’ve spoken with actually theorize that certain Hoboken officials are getting “paid” on the side for this – or receive free or heavily discounted usage of the Connect Cars.

  • Wishful thinking. Since the Zip Car has been in Hoboken for over 5 years, parking and traffic has only gotten worse. How is it, that a practically identical hourly car rental service (Hertz) can come into Hoboken, and all of a sudden “Over 750 cars will be eliminated” from Hoboken streets? If Zip cars didn’t solve the parking debacle here – what makes anyone think Hertz will make a difference? Because they’re parked closer? That’s the only difference between Hertz and Zip – is the street parking…. Most Zip Cars are also within 5 minutes of any Hoboken resident. So what gives? Does the city feel the need to practically “kiss the ass” of the Hertz Car to compensate for the 50 less parking spots for angry Hoboken residents? That’s one safe bet at least.

If you cannot beat them, join them?

OK, for those that think I cannot think outside the box – here’s a REALLY revolutionary idea:

If you truly want Hertz on Demand (formerly Connect by Hertz) Cars and Zip Cars to work, instead of just making permanent parking spots for each individual car – let’s take this a step further. And I guarantee you TONS more people will sign up for the service.

Reserved Parking in MULTIPLE spots.

In addition to the “home” spot for the Hertz Cars – also create TWO additional spots for these hourly buggies at various places throughout Hoboken. My initial idea was perhaps two or three exclusive spots per block along Washington St. (say 30 to 45 spaces – reserved just for “Hertz and Zip” cars). And 50 other “short term” reserved spots at logical areas throughout the city. This way, folks that like to shop, run their errands, visit mistresses – can ALWAYS find a spot along the main avenue or any other street in town. This is good for the environment (if you still believe that colossal scam), and it can reduce traffic backups.

Because of the now added stress from “regular” car owners in finding a spot (God, is it that much of a sin to own a personal vehicle?) – it could persuade a few more people to give them up. Just throwin’ it out there!

If the city is going to embrace, make love, and over-promote these cars – then why not just pull out all the stops? Make it such a “dream” to participate in this racket program – that drivers will have little resistance left.

Would that help the program? Suffer from too much backlash? Get the current administration voted out of office?

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16 Comments on "Hoboken cars: Thinking outside the box"

granny
Member
granny
We’ve lived in Hoboken for a decade now, haven’t owned a car in 20 years. When Zipcars became available here, we signed up right away and have used them for years whenever we need a car for short local trips. We were a bit surprised at the newspaper headline, “Will car-sharing work in Hoboken?” Duh. It has for years with Zipcar! So where’s the breaking news? We also wondered why Hoboken411 seemed to be so opposed to the Connect Car plan. Still, we signed up for the Hertz Connect Car program anyway, since it included a $75 credit. So the next time we needed a car, we tried it. Based on that experience, we’ll be sticking to Zipcars from now on, even though we still have some unused credit on the Connect Cars. Here’s why: Zipcars are usually parked in garages. In the shade. Connect Cars are parked conveniently on street corners, in the sun. Even when it’s not 90 degrees outside, the cars are too hot to get into when you first open the door. If it were a normal car, or even a Zipcar, we would open the windows right away to avoid suffocating while starting the car. Not possible with Connect Cars. You can’t start the car, roll down the windows, or do anything else until you go through all the questions on the display screen, which isn’t even all that easy to find. “Are you a licensed driver over 21?” it asks. (Didn’t we answer that… Read more »
animal_lover
Member
animal_lover
Zip Car I use nationwide they have excellent service. However i don’t use Zipcar in Hoboken because the members in Hoboken are to rude to follow the rules. For example- you find no car when scheduled, empty gas tanks when it is required you fill it if half empty and they at times have left the cars trashed. I do believe Zipcare does discipline these members through fines but really I don’t have faith in Hobokenites becoming less self absorbed.[quote comment=”196304″]We’ve lived in Hoboken for a decade now, haven’t owned a car in 20 years. When Zipcars became available here, we signed up right away and have used them for years whenever we need a car for short local trips. We were a bit surprised at the newspaper headline, “Will car-sharing work in Hoboken?” Duh. It has for years with Zipcar! So where’s the breaking news? We also wondered why Hoboken411 seemed to be so opposed to the Connect Car plan. Still, we signed up for the Hertz Connect Car program anyway, since it included a $75 credit. So the next time we needed a car, we tried it. Based on that experience, we’ll be sticking to Zipcars from now on, even though we still have some unused credit on the Connect Cars. Here’s why:Zipcars are usually parked in garages. In the shade. Connect Cars are parked conveniently on street corners, in the sun. Even when it’s not 90 degrees outside, the cars are too hot to get into when… Read more »
Furey
Member

As 411 also wrote, through June 2012, Connect by Hertz is offering 2 years of membership for free ($25 application fee applies) and is providing a $75 driving credit when using the code: HOBOKEN at time of enrollment.

Zip Car is $25 enrollment fee and $50 a year. My company I can get $0 enrollment and $25 a year, check if your company is enrolled here: http://www.zipcar.com/business/

I compared renting a Mazda 3 with Zip Car versus renting a VW Passat with Hertz for 3 hours. The costs are basically the same.

I hope they get rid of the $5 Security Fee per rental. That would make a big difference when renting these cars. NJ is the only state that does that.

historybuff
Member
historybuff

ZipCar & Hertz both bid on the city contract to provide the car-share program. Hertz’s bid was better. It was capitalism – not favoritism. And ZipCar is allowed to continue to provide its services as before — no restraint of trade. Maybe they’ll make the better bid next time when the Hertz contract is up.

Programs like this — ZipCar & Hertz are the dominant players — have been in effect in cities like Philly, Austin, Baltimore and others for several years now, and there have been a few outside studies that track the number of cars reduced by use of the program. It’s usually 5 – 15 cars per shared car. Look it up before you criticize, people.

Easy-E
Member

Thanks for clearing that up.

It’s not just about how many people turn in permits, plenty of people park in garages, loads of them with out of state plates, dodging NJ insurance rates. It’s also the number of people who decide against getting a car in the first place or get rid of them when they move here.

I stopped using Zipcar and bought one 4 years ago because I could rarely get a reservation when I needed it and was charged for BS cleaning and damage that I never did. I didn’t have any other options.

When I sell my car over the next couple weeks, I’ll be turning in my permit. When my wife’s lease is up in November, we’ll do the same with hers.[quote comment=”196297″]ZipCar & Hertz both bid on the city contract to provide the car-share program. Hertz’s bid was better. It was capitalism – not favoritism. And ZipCar is allowed to continue to provide its services as before — no restraint of trade. Maybe they’ll make the better bid next time when the Hertz contract is up.Programs like this — ZipCar & Hertz are the dominant players — have been in effect in cities like Philly, Austin, Baltimore and others for several years now, and there have been a few outside studies that track the number of cars reduced by use of the program. It’s usually 5 – 15 cars per shared car. Look it up before you criticize, people.[/quote]

Easy-E
Member

Zip car has always had a annual fee.

I’m looking at the Hertz site and Zipcar right now as I type this, the rates are comparable, they both start in the $8-$10 range, depending on your membership level. Am I missing something?

Granted perhaps the Hertz deal wasn’t transparent enough, but it’s a step in the right direction. I am not sure what the deal is with Zipcar, and why they don’t park all of them on the street anymore.

This one is still on the street. I wonder if they move it for sweeping too?

zipcar.com/nyc/car-profile?vehicle_id=173324131&popup_p=t

I’d really like to know what membership numbers both services currently have.

getz76
Member
getz76

Zip Car has a Honda for $6 an hour. HertzConnect starts at $10 an hour unless you sign up for the $50/month package.[quote comment=”196281″]Zip car has always had a annual fee.I’m looking at the Hertz site and Zipcar right now as I type this, the rates are comparable, they both start in the $8-$10 range, depending on your membership level. Am I missing something?Granted perhaps the Hertz deal wasn’t transparent enough, but it’s a step in the right direction. I am not sure what the deal is with Zipcar, and why they don’t park all of them on the street anymore.This one is still on the street. I wonder if they move it for sweeping too?I’d really like to know what membership numbers both services currently have.[/quote]

Easy-E
Member

I just don’t consider a $2 difference on a couple of their cars is significant. I can’t see what the other hourly rates are, anyone know?[quote comment=”196284″]Zip Car has a Honda for $6 an hour. HertzConnect starts at $10 an hour unless you sign up for the $50/month package.

[/quote]

getz76
Member
getz76

I’m not sure how you are getting $10 – $6 to equal a $2 difference.

Hertz won’t show the rates unless you sign up, but they say rates start at $10 unless you sign up for the $50/month package. Zip Car shows rates, and they have a Honda Insight in town for $6/hour. [quote comment=”196293″]I just don’t consider a $2 difference on a couple of their cars is significant. I can’t see what the other hourly rates are, anyone know?

[/quote]

AtomicTMan
Member
AtomicTMan
I feel that the city has generally done a terrible job at analyzing the problem and coming up with efficient solutions. It seems to me that examining why people in Hoboken own cars can lead to ideas that can address specific needs. Some random ideas: 1) Driving out of the area for repeated weekend getaways – typically based on seasonal things like going down the shore in the Summer, and going skiing / snowboarding in the Winter. Anyone who has ever taken the NJ transit train down the shore knows it’s a nightmare. Perhaps Hoboken can find some way (working with a private company maybe) to provide a chartered bus / van service that serves groups of people from Hoboken to the most popular shore destinations on the weekend for a modest fee. Anyone who has ever taken the bus from Penn Station to the local ski resorts knows that sucks as well. Similar to the shore, perhaps the (same?) service could be provided to Mountain Creek, Hunter mountain, etc. There are some ski clubs in hoboken, perhaps these need to be publicized and advertised so more people are aware of them. 2) Buying big ass items – furniture, TVs, bulk items at costcos, etc. This is a sticking point for me personally. Hertz / Zip / Budget / UHaul don’t have enough SUVs to go around (ever try to reserve one on the weekend? Forget it.) and trying to request a SUV from a local taxi / car service… Read more »
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