Will car-sharing work in Richmond?

If you’re looking to take a Zipcar on a test drive for yourself, you’ll have to leave Richmond’s city limits, In fact, the closest locations to Richmond are in Washington, D.C. and Chapel Hill, N.C.

The company, which is not yet profitable, is adding new customers at a 4% or 5% monthly clip, mostly because urban drivers are going car-less and renting on the occasions when they need four wheels.

But if you’re looking to take a Zipcar on a test drive for yourself, you’ll have to leave Richmond’s city limits, In fact, the closest locations to Richmond are in Washington, D.C. and Chapel Hill, N.C.

You’d think Richmond would be ideal, at least for residents in the denser urban center. Most Zipcar customers use their cars for less than an hour for errands like grocery shopping. That would be ideal for Fan residents who want occasional use of a car but don’t need one for their daily routine.

The company often adds locations in urban university towns. VCU would seem a decent market with around 30,000 students packed into an area only a few blocks wide.

But, alas, no dice. A company spokeswoman said she knows of no plans to add a location in Richmond.

This is the first story on our new Gas-O-Scream blog, which covers energy costs and how businesses are reacting. Tomorrow, look for a story on local firms cutting back to a four-day work week.

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