Car-sharing company Zipcar Inc. announced Nov. 29 a pilot program in San Francisco that includes full-size cargo vans through a new offering called Zipvan, according to a press release.
The vans will allow consumers to transport items too bulky for cars or pickup trucks, and give small businesses a new and more affordable option for transporting goods. This pilot program is in response to the performance of the van service currently offered by Zipcar's UK operations and a Zipcar member survey indicating that nearly 40% of members surveyed would likely use Zipvan if available.
As of the announcement, Ford E-150 cargo vans are available in San Francisco for reservation by Zipcar members for hourly or daily use with rates starting from $14.75 per hour and $99 per day, which include gas, insurance, parking, roadside assistance and up to 180 miles of driving per day. Access to the vans is self-serve, so members won't experience long lines, paperwork or additional charges associated with traditional van rental.
"Based on the success we've seen in London and the enthusiasm from our members expressed through our Zipcar member survey, we're thrilled to launch this pilot in San Francisco," said Scott Griffith, chairman and CEO of Zipcar. "Whether you're planning a move across town or about to make a new purchase for your apartment or a business with an occasional need for a larger vehicle, transporting large items in the city is a real hassle. Zipvan aims to make it more convenient and more affordable to move 'stuff' around."
Zipcar has seen strong utilization of its cargo van service in London, which has been operating for more than three years as Streetvan (part of Streetcar, a company Zipcar acquired in 2010).
During this short-term pilot program in San Francisco, Zipcar will analyze the performance of Zipvan and member feedback on the program. Based on these results, Zipcar may determine to launch the service in select U.S. and Canadian markets during 2012.
By early January 2012, a total of 15 vehicles will be located throughout San Francisco and Oakland. An initial group of six vehicles will be located in pods of two each and placed at three existing Zipcar locations: Market St. at 15th St., 14th St. at Stevenson St. and Fell St. at Divisadero St. Over the next few months, Zipcar will expand by placing nine more vans in additional San Francisco locations and in Oakland on 20th St. at Telegraph Ave. and Harrison St. at 15th St.
The Ford E-150 cargo vans include two up-front seats and more than 230 cubic feet of cargo space — enough for a queen-sized mattress.
Go to www.zipvan.com for more information.