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Time Your Ride

Zipcar alternatives by the day, hour, or minute.

Illustration by Dennis Eriksson  
  • A 20-Minute Keg Run

  • Car2Go

    This past October, Car2Go peppered a 36-mile Brooklyn stretch, from Williamsburg to Bay Ridge, with 400 tiny blue-and-white Smart cars. There’s a sign-up fee of $35 (for the key card), but for only 41 cents per minute (and a maximum $15 per hour), this beats stumbling into the subway with a heavy load of groceries. And in lieu of having to return your ride to a designated drop-off location, available Car2Gos can be pinpointed via app and ditched in any legal parking space within the aforementioned radius.

  • A Four-Hour Couch Move

  • Carpingo

    For those who fear clunking down side streets in a U-Haul: Carpingo’s fleet includes a multitude of furniture-friendly vehicles—Dodge Caravans and Ford E250s—in parking spots throughout Brooklyn and Long Island City, from $7.50 per hour. Members can reserve for as little as one hour (or for a maximum two-week stretch) and tap the membership card (from $25) to unlock the ride. Plus, each car has a “fuel card” for complimentary gas.

  • A Weekend in Rhinebeck

  • Dollar Rent a Car

    Newport Centre Mall, Jersey City; 201-459-0900

    Deal-seeking New Yorkers have been known to take the hour-long train to White Plains to avoid Manhattan car-rental premiums (which creep toward $100 per day) and multi-day Zipcar rates. But for those in the know, Dollar is a mere seven-minute PATH-train ride from One World Trade Center, plus a six-minute walk. Dollar has a large fleet of Nissan Versas and Kia Vioses for under $30 per day. And if you can finagle a Monday getaway, rates can dip to $22 per day.

  • A Month in Nashville

  • Courier Car Rental

    430 W. 37th St., nr. Tenth Ave.

    Located in the shadow of the Lincoln Tunnel, Saturday Night Live’s favorite car rental for celebrity guests combines dreamy customer service—the lot’s open 24 hours a day, and there’s a one-hour grace period on returns since the neighborhood is so heavily trafficked— with full-size monthly rental costs from $1,295 (and only 15 cents per mile over the maximum 1,500). This spring it’ll be phasing out its road-weary Ford Fusions for a fleet of brand-new Focuses. And while a quick Google of monthly car leases in Manhattan turns up tantalizing rates around $500, there are often hidden costs. The rental route saves you from sifting through pages of fine-print lease documents.

From the 2015 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine