I was driving through the underpass on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway the first time I saw a ZÜN car. A shiny white Audi A3 Sportback with the word ZÜN spelled out in pink, red and green lettering. My interest was piqued.
It was through word of mouth that I heard the news. Car sharing had arrived, in the heart of the Seven Mile Beach corridor, at Camana Bay. I went straight to the website to find out more. ZÜN was an elevated experience to the ride sharing I was already familiar with from trips to the United States.
The process was simple and offered me the flexibility and peace of mind that I had been seeking. The annual membership fee of CI$40 allowed me access to a fleet of world-class cars based at Camana Bay and included insurance, maintenance, 24/7 roadside assistance and fuel! Could I really have it all for less than an annual Netflix membership? I had to find out.
Registration was simple. I filled out my basic information and even had the opportunity to list my friend as a referral. She later told me she received a free one-hour trip because of the referral. After registration, I downloaded the ZÜN app on my smartphone and was happy to see it was available on the App Store and on Google Play.
I wasn’t quite sure when I was going to use my first ride until I dropped my car off to the mechanic one morning and wanted to head out for lunch. Perfect! I logged onto the app and was provided with three available cars. I clicked the closest to me, 300 feet away, and clicked reserve. The screen prompted that I now had 15 minutes to start my journey, more than enough time to wrap up a final email before my lunch hour.
As my office is based in Camana Bay, I was offered a Camana Bay perk that my first trip of up to one hour would be free! The normal rate option is just CI$16 per hour, making it all the more compelling and easy to start the ignition.
I was able to unlock the car through the app and, once inside, I removed the keys from the glove compartment. I synced my favourite playlist to the car through Bluetooth and with the soca music flowing I was ready for the road! Until that day I was a member of the population who had never driven a sports car and honestly? I’m not sure how I will ever go back.
The Audi A3 Sportback is sleek. I was worried about tackling the lunchtime rush and specifically lunchtime parking but the car fit comfortably in every space I approached and even helped me in the hard spaces with sensors and alerts if I was ever too close to an object. Roundabouts were no challenge for the ZÜN as the car swiftly made its way around corners and bends while the engine continued to purr as if we had not made a turn at all.
As I began to approach the one-hour mark of my trip – conveniently tracked on the app as I drove – I headed back to Camana Bay. With the convenience of multiple parking lots to choose from, I parked the car, disconnected the Bluetooth on my phone ignition and placed the keys back in the key holder located in the glove compartment.
After checking that I had collected all of my possessions, I closed the door and clicked to end the trip on the app. I was provided with a review checklist to make sure everything had been closed out. I then confirmed my trip had ended and I heard the door lock. My phone pinged and I received the email with my receipt for my trip.
This experience allowed me to maximise my lunch hour in a way I never had before when I would have normally been confined to my desk while waiting for the mechanic to finish with my car. Car sharing is perfect for running errands, visiting guests or even being used for a company vehicle or errands.
My first ZÜN car-sharing experience was memorable, and it will not be my last.