U Haul, U Pay

Courtesy: students.expression.edu
Courtesy: students.expression.edu

I’m one of the rare ones here in Arizona. I don’t own a vehicle.

It’s confusing to folks, too, when I say that I sold my car right before coming to Thunderbird, in Los Angeles of all cities. “Didn’t you know you were going to be living in Phoenix?” I knew. It was a grand experiment- could I go without a car in the urban sprawl of Arizona?

The answer is, well, kind of. Making friends with cars has helped. ┬áSo has Uber, the taxi cab service. But sometimes, you need a car to drive. That’s where the UHaul Car Share comes into the picture.

UHaul Car Share operates a lot like ZipCar. You pay an hourly rate for a Prius or a Ford Focus, and that should be it, right? Wrong. My experience this week isn’t what I expected.

For one, I didn’t expect the per-mile fee. Zip Car includes up to 180 miles free per day in its rentals, why not UHaul? Second, entering and exiting the vehicle is a process. There is a keypad on the door of the car that allows you to unlock the vehicle, but in my experience found it finicky and cumbersome. I set off the alarm accidentally several times. It’s extremely awkward in a crowded mall parking lot.

The biggest gripe I have is with the stickers plastered on the side of the vehicles. What if you’re on a date? Do you think someone would enjoy being picked up for dinner in a U Haul? Zip Cars have similar stickers, but they at least have a nicer logo. And, if you’re driving into Scottsdale, chalk up at least $40 for your total drive. That’s an expensive few hours!

To make a long story short, I’m currently looking into renting or buying a car again. The experiment was fun while it lasted, but at the end of the day, I need wheels in Phoenix.

2 Comments

  1. I’ll admit I’m biased as the intern campus representative for U-Haul Car Share, but I can at least answer some of the concerns. I’m not a big fan of that key pad either, what I’ve been advising people to do is download the smart phone app and you can use it to unlock the keypad.

    Overall it’s a changing world, especially in cities where Uber and Car Sharing fit right in if you don’t want to buy a car. After all owning a car is expensive. Aside from buying it, you have to pay for registration, maintenance, insurance and gas. U-Haul assumes all of those costs, even the gas.

    Zipcar is a competitor and comes with its advantages and disadvantages. First Zipcar charges a monthly fee, whereas U-Haul does not. U-Haul also has 180 miles free if you’re renting it for the day. Otherwise it’s $4.95 an hour plus 40 cents a mile capped at no more than $8.50 per hour if you go over. When you consider the cost of buying a car if you’re just using it now and then, I still think its a big savings.

    As far as the logo costing you your date, I’ll have to buy you a beer to make it up to you at the pub Mark.

    • The $8.50 per hour cap is not being followed in u-haul. I am one of the regular users of the car and end up paying more than $ 8.50, even if am driving just to the nearby walmart.

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