Zipcar is coming to
By Liam Daniel Migdail-Smith
“It is going to be something we’re going to do,” said Sauer, confirming rumors that a Zipcar program would be introduced at SU. “That’s a definite.”
Zipcar—started in 1999 in
On college campuses, schools partner with Zipcar to provide a number of vehicles on or around the campus. Students, faculty and staff can sign up for the program through Zipcar and have access to the cars on campus. Members over the age of 21 can also reserve Zipcars in other cities. The annual fee for a member joining through a college is typically $35.
At SU, the contract with Zipcar is definite but university officials, said Sauer, are still working out some details such as the number and type cars that will be on campus, the hourly rate that members will be charged and how information about the program will be made available to students, faculty and staff. The program is expected be in effect by the end of the fall semester, Sauer said.
Talks about bringing Zipcar to
“Once they saw students wanted it,” said Fernandez-Lovo. “They said ‘okay, perfect.’”
Fernandez-Lovo expressed confidence that putting a Zipcar program in place at SU would support the university’s goal of making SU an environmentally-sustainable campus. “If you have 50 to 100 people sharing one car,” he said. “Do you know how much carbon emissions is going to go down?”
Melissa Cadwell, of the university’s sustainability program, also expressed optimism that Zipcar would be an environmentally-sustainable option for the university. “It’s beneficial,” she said. “Lowering carbon on campus; lowering the number of vehicles on campus.”
The program, Cadwell said, would encourage students to carpool to places like the supermarket rather than all having their own cars. It would also, she said, make traveling to work via public transportation or a carpool a more feasible option for university employees because it would allow them to run errands from work without having a car parked on campus.
Zipcar prides itself as a being an environmentally-friendly option. Based on a survey of its members in July, Zipcar estimates that it saves 16 million gallons of gasoline and 150 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually. Based on the same survey and studies by government transportation agencies, it estimates that the adding of each car to its fleet results in an average of 15 less privately-owned vehicles being on the road.
What effect a Zipcar program will have at S.U. is hard to predict because it depends on the program’s popularity. This also proves challenging because Zipcar, as a rule, does not release specifics on membership at individual schools, said Maria Martinez, a representative for Zipcar. This makes it difficult to assess the popularity of programs at other schools. Nationally, Zipcar’s college program has more than 20,000 members at more than 70 universities, according to information released by Zipcar.
“A lot of times you look and all four of them are gone,” she said. Dailey said she finds that students often use the cars to get to 24-hour stores late at night.
Because Zipcar only fully insures drivers over the age of
Insurance is part of the contract negotiations between the universities and Zipcar but SU has not yet released information on how, if at all, it will insure younger drivers. Not insuring younger students, said Scot Vanderpool of Parking and Transit Services at SU, “would take freshmen out of the picture.” Individuals involved in the planning process, however, expressed hope that younger students would be able to use the Zipcar program.
“The aim is going to be freshmen and sophomores,” said Fernandez-Lovo of the Student Association. The hope, he said, is that younger students will use the program during their first two years at school and then not bring cars to campus as upper classmen.
University officials expect that an official announcement of the program’s details will likely be made within the next couple weeks.