After Boston success, Zipcar to expand one-way trips

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The car-sharing service Zipcar said it is expanding its one-way trip program to Denver, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles after a successful trial in Boston.

Zipcar, which is based in Fort Point and is now owned by the rental company Avis, has long allowed its members to pay by the hour to rent cars from reserved Zipcar parking spots, use them for short trips, and return them to the same spot.

Last year, however, it started allowing Boston users to arrange one-way trips and drop off their vehicles in any Zipcar spot — picking up a car at the airport, for instance, and leaving it near a hotel downtown. The Zipcar One-Way program started with 200 Honda Fit subcompacts, a number that it grew to 250 in response to the popularity of the service, Zipcar said.

The three new cities will be added in the fall, Zipcar said. In Boston, the One-Way service costs about $6 an hour, according to the company’s website, which is about what it costs to rent a small car through the company’s normal round-trip program.

The One-Way program is separate from the company’s bid to get involved with a city of Boston plan to sell 150 “free-floating” parking permits that would allow shared cars to park anywhere at any time, including metered parking and areas that usually require a residential permit. The city hasn’t issued those permits yet, according to Lindsay Wester, a Zipcar spokeswoman.