DC Cinderella needs a cheap set of wheels
September 16, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Party Princess wants a shared horse drawn carriage in DC

I recently shadowed a party princess in the DC area who would love to hire me as a contracted princess for her company. The problem: I don't have a car and I can't afford to buy and maintain one. Metro is not really an option for all the gigs so I really need access to a car sharing group.

I know DC car sharing includes ZipCar, Car2Go, and Hertz on Demand, but I am having trouble figuring out which one would be most cost effective for me.

Kids party gigs run about one hour and I would need a car to get there and back.

I would need:
-to reserve access to a car for certain times on Saturdays/Sundays within walking distance of the Columbia Heights area

-to hold on to that car for chunk of time(2-3 hours per show) so I have a definite way to get home from each party with my costume and party gear

If I could keep the cost of transportation below $35 for each event that would be great.

posted by Luminiferous Ether to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (5 answers total)
ZipCar, definitely, although it won't be that cheap. Assuming you're doing birthdays out in the burbs, you'll need to reserve a minimum of an hour and a half to get to the party and back, plus however long you're actually at the party, which on weekends is already bringing you to the ~$50 range. The further-out the party, the more you'll pay.

Car2Go is more expensive at $13.99/hr; it's really best for short trips within the District. I don't know about the Hertz offering at all.
posted by downing street memo at 9:01 AM on September 16, 2012

I've had good luck using Priceline's Name Your Own Price option for rental cars - lowball the system and you'll get lucky every now and then. Maybe you could utilize both a car-sharing service and keep your eyes on that.
posted by honeybee413 at 9:03 AM on September 16, 2012

If you book far enough in advance, (at least here in NYC) there will be available zipcars that are only $8/h, so for a 4h rental you'd come in at under $35. You still need to factor in the annual membership cost and the damage fee waiver if you choose to get one (get one, srsly).
posted by elizardbits at 9:29 AM on September 16, 2012

Enterprise has a $9.99/day weekend special running through next May. I think we paid $35 total for a Friday to Monday rental. That doesn't include rental insurance, though (we have primary coverage for rentals through our credit card, so we just use that).

You'd have to pay for gas, which you wouldn't with a Zipcar, and parking might be an issue, but you also wouldn't have to worry about being charged $50 if you don't get it back on time and what you'll do if the person who has the Zipcar before you doesn't return it on time (which has happened to us 3 times).
posted by amarynth at 10:25 AM on September 16, 2012

Oh, a car. That's a horseless carriage. A horse-drawn carriage is something quite different, and probably not available from ZipCar.

Is cab service not reliable? Unless you're actually using the car as a locker, your requirement of keeping the car there means you're paying for rental hours you aren't using it as transportation.
posted by sageleaf at 12:42 PM on September 16, 2012

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