Living in NYC is a pain if you are used to having the convenience of a car parked in front of your house, ready when you need it. The subway system here is great for the day to day but there are so many exceptions and times where getting around NYC is just plain miserable.
The biggest challenge for me is getting out of the city. After being banned from my local Hertz (long story), I've found a different place to rent. But the prices are insane and 3 of 5 times, I've reserved a car online the car wasn't available when I tried to pick it up. It's a crappy and unreliable system.
Zip Car is the perfect alternative. The model is brilliant and I like just about everything about them but, (and this is going to sound REALLY lazy), it takes 2 weeks by mail to process the Zip Car application or requires a trip to somewhere in Midtown so you can show your ID. And every time I think to get a Zip Car, it is always last minute and I can't be bothered to take the train to fill out paperwork. So, until recently, I've been stuck with the "maybe we will have a car" Hertz in the West Village.
As much as I like the start-up model and ideology of Zip, I'm admittedly tempted by the free online sign-up for Hertz's version of Zip called Connect By Hertz. The site is user friendly, the cars (according to what is online) are good city cars, with lots of hybrids. And if the local Hertz manager doesn't try to have me arrested (more of that long story) and if the cars are available, it seems like a pretty good choice.
Although these sorts of things happen all the time, it does seem a little unfair for Hertz to steal Zip Car's business model. Hopefully Zip will retailiate by improving their application process.