In the professional world, sometimes driving is a necessity. But owning a car can be expensive and inconvenient, especially when the price of parking, insurance and gas is factored in. And let’s be honest, owning a car can translate into more miles driven, and a bigger carbon footprint.
Earlier this year The Sustainable Lawyer read an article in the Boston Globe about Boston Bar Foundation Society of Fellows Committee Co-Chair Jane Willis (Ropes & Gray) and her husband (MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey) who donated their car to use public transportation and the car sharing service, Zipcar. This got TSL wondering if any other lawyers in the Hub use Zipcar, and whether they believe it fosters sustainability. Fortunately for us, tracking down lawyers who use the service was pretty easy.
Before we get started, he’s a quick rundown on Zipcar:
Zipcar is a car sharing service founded in January 2000 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After signing up, (one time $25 fee) members pick the car of their choice (availability varies by location) online using a computer or smartphone, select the hourly rate or daily option, and off they go. Gas is included (and members are reimbursed for places that don’t accept the card) and there is a 180 mile maximum for 24 hours.
We caught up with three attorneys, Christopher Strang (Desmond Strang & Scott), Colin Van Dyke (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo) and Aaron Agulnek (Jewish Community Relations Council) and asked them the most simple question we could…why do you use Zipcar?
Colin: We’re a one-car household and Zipcar allows me to get to hearings and client meetings outside of Boston without inconveniencing my wife and kids. The process is simple and the cars are more conveniently located than rentals; for example, I can reserve a car near my house, in the garage beneath our office building, or near a meeting from which I need to leave to get (and drive) to another. Zipcar is typically far less expensive and, again, more convenient than using taxis. Plus, Mintz Levin now provides a Zipcar benefit that reduces the costs of my annual membership and the hourly rates. Still, it’s driving a car, the environmental impact of which is the same whether it’s my car or a Zipcar, but I suspect that if we had a second car I would drive more often, so Zipcar allows me to keep my time behind the wheel to a minimum.
Chris: The main reason I use Zipcar is to not have to deal with parking in the city. I use Zipcar for things like short court appearances outside of Boston, and for client meetings at their offices. The added bonus is only using the car when absolutely necessary, and using more environmentally friendly transportation to and from work.
Aaron: “I work for a non-profit organization and we have a Zipcar that the staff can utilize for meetings that are outside of public transportation zones. It clearly makes sense from an economic and convenience perspective, but we also come at it from an environmental perspective. Our organization is committed to environmental justice and the Zipcar provides a tangible way for us to make a difference.”
Sometimes, the impact (or the lack thereof) matters more than motivation.
And yes, they offer hybrids.