Personal Membership Requirements
Age 21 and older
- Have a valid driver's license and have been licensed for at least one year
- Have had no more than two incidents (moving violations PLUS accidents) in the past three years and no more than one incident in the past 18 months
- Have had no major violations in the past three years
- Have had no alcohol violations in the past seven years
Age 18 to 20
- Have a valid driver's license for at least one year
- Have no incidents on their driving record
Step 1 – Join
Apply online through Cal Poly Zipcar. Once you are approved, you will receive your very own Zipcard by mail within three days to a week. Once you are approved, your Zipcard will be activated and ready to use. *See information above for department memberships.
- Zipcar checks your driving record.
- Zipcar emails you about the status of your application.
- Zipcar sends your Zipcard to your billing address or activates your existing Zipcard.
Already a Zipcar member? Contact Zipcar to transfer to a Cal Poly membership.
Do you have a driver's license outside of the U.S. or Canada? You can apply. Visit Zipcar Foreign Licenses for instructions on how to provide them with your driving record.
Step 2 – Reserve
Once you have your activated Zipcard, reserve one of the Zipcars at Cal Poly or at any other Zipcar location for an hour or an entire day – you decide how long. Reservations can be made online at Zipcar or by phone at 866-4ZIPCAR.
Step 3 – Unlock
Walk to the car; hold your Zipcard to the windshield. The doors will unlock, and it's all yours! Your Zipcard will only open the car you've reserved during the time you reserved it, which means no one else can open your Zipcar during that time. (You will be instructed where to find the keys in the car.)
Step 4 – Drive
Drive away – and return the Zipcar to the same reserved parking spot at the end of your reservation. It's that simple. And remember, gas and insurance are included in the hourly rate. You just need to fill the tank using the Zipcar fuel card inside the car when it gets to 1/4 full.
As part of the application process, you will need to enter a personal credit card number. Zipcar accepts all major credit cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and Diners Club. Your personal credit card will initially be charged your annual fee and applicable taxes. Once you become a member, your driving charges will be charged to your personal credit card when you have completed a reservation.
You will be charged penalties if you do not adhere to the basic membership guidelines. All penalty fees are assessed by Zipcar. Penalty fees result from actions including returning the car late, returning the car with less than 1/4 tank of fuel, leaving the car excessively dirty, smoking in the car, and allowing pets outside of a car carrier while in the car.
Please note that someone who is not a Zipcar member cannot drive the Zipcar that a member has reserved. Anyone behind the wheel must be a Zipcar member for liability and insurance reasons. Membership can be revoked for unauthorized use.
Zipcar charges late penalty fees of $50 per hour with a minimum charge of $50 plus regular hourly charges. So, when you're making your reservation, book the car for an extra half-hour or hour if you have any doubt about being able to make it back on time.
You can also extend your reservation with Zipcar's automated telephone system (866-4ZIPCAR), but keep in mind that it's not always possible to extend your reservation once you have the car – another member may have already reserved it!
This is not a complete list of penalties. Please see Zipcar Fee Policy for full details.
Zipcar has a special offer for Cal Poly departments: a free department membership. With no fee to join and no limit on the number of members you can add to a department account, why not sign up for a department Zipcar account today? Department memberships are free for Cal Poly departments, with no cost per additional driver.
Business (Department) Use Information
- Department memberships are intended for university business only.
- All business use memberships for staff/faculty/students will be pre-approved by department heads/admins/budget authorities.
- All payments for Zipcar use on state business will be via department chargeback.
- All Business use members must have department approval.
- Business use members shall not use vehicles for personal use.
- No reimbursements will be made if using a personal account for state business purposes.
- Memberships and membership cards are non-transferable. ie: Do not ask a student to use their personal Zipcar membership to do department errands.
- Department members can use any of the 12,000 Zipcars nationwide for business travel.
- Department memberships are for university business only.
- Hourly fees can be charged to a department account.
- A personal or department Zipcar account can be added to an existing account, with a drop down option to charge the correct account for each trip.
- Students shall not use their personal Zipcar membership for state business. This includes any requests by faculty or staff, which would require Zipcar rental.
To begin the process for setting up a department business account, please contact Cal Poly Commuter Services at 805-756-6680.
For more information about department memberships, please contact Rich Paisner at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy email@example.com.