Zipcar provides students with community car

November 19th, 2009

John Carroll University may see a car sharing program come to campus. The program is still in the initial stages of development, but junior Student Union Senator Juanita Padilla is working with Campus Safety Services and the junior class senate to bring the idea to fruition.

“It was just an idea I had to help improve our campus, by both providing more sustainable means of transportation and helping with regards to limited parking, which is an issue here at our campus,” said Padilla.

Padilla is looking into Zipcar, a car sharing company that is currently on 140 college campuses across the United States.

If the program is instituted, Zipcar would place several cars on campus for program members. In a proposal to JCU, Zipcar National Account Executive Jeremy Lynch recommended the University start with only two cars on campus and increase the number as need is presented.

To become a program member, faculty and students could register online by supplying their name, credit or debit card information and drivers license number. Within a few days of registration, members will receive a Zipcard, which allows members to use the cars.

Once a member of the program, faculty and students could reserve a car online, by phone or by mobile device and the Zipcard unlocks the reserved car. When students and faculty are done using the car, they return to the parking space and use their Zipcard to lock the vehicle.

Members would have to pay to use the cars, either by hour or day, depending on how long the car is used. Rates during the week would be $8 per hour and $66 per day, and $9 per hour and $72 per day on the weekends. The rates include fuel, insurance, parking, roadside assistance and maintenance.

Padilla said, “There is a slight cost to students to participate. We could try to work this out otherwise or try to reduce it, but as of yet we have not really looked into this.”

Zipcar would require that each Zipcar on campus generate a minimum monthly revenue of $1,500 to $1,600, depending on the type of car. The revenue would be generated from the hourly and daily fees paid by members.

However, once the University met this minimum revenue for two consecutive quarters, there would no longer be a minimum revenue requirement. The Zipcar program would not cost the University itself anything.

Additionally, members who are over the age of 21 are able to access Zipcars wherever the program is in place.

Students seem to have mixed emotions about whether or not they favor the program.

“It seems it would require a lot of integrity on the part of those who rent the car out [in terms of returning it],” said sophomore Adam Boggs. “And personally, I wouldn’t use it.”

Other students feel the service would be beneficial.

“There’s tons of times I wish I had a car on campus,” said freshman William Linville.

Freshman Joe Hyek agrees.

“I guess it’s a good idea ­— it gives people options,” said Hyek.

According to Zipcar’s proposal, the program would benefit JCU’s campus and community. The program reduces the number of vehicles on campus and in the surrounding community, introduces sustainable transportation to members, provides a cost-effective alternative to owning a car and reduces congestion and parking demands. Also, all of the cars that Zipcar recommends for JCU have low carbon dioxide emissions.

“This is still in the initial stages,” said Padilla. “I am still trying to meet with the [CSS] Chief [Timothy Peppard] to see how this would work on our campus.”