Zipcar comes to Stetson Friday
October 29, 2012
Zipcar is coming to Stetson beginning Friday, Nov. 2, providing an inexpensive way to ‘share’ a car without having to worry about gas or insurance.
Founded in 1999, Zipcar is the world’s largest membership-based, car-sharing company, providing cars on-demand. Car sharing is a pay-per-use system, which has the effect of significantly altering driving behavior.
“We wanted to bring Zipcar to Stetson to help remedy some of the transportation concerns that we hear year after year in the Student Government Association,” said Jeremy Rill, president of SGA. “It will allow students to be independent without bringing a car to campus, which will help us continue to decrease our carbon footprint. Zipcar will be a large step forward for us as a Student Government and for the university, and it will be another valuable service that we offer our students.”
The process is simple: apply for a Zipcar membership at zipcar.com/stetson, and once you’re approved, you’ll be mailed a Zipcard, which will arrive within days after you’ve been approved.
When you need the car, reserve it either online or through a smartphone app. The reservations are instant, and you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail and can review upcoming reservations on your Zipcar profile. At the designated time, hold your Zipcard to the windshield and the car doors will unlock with the keys already inside. Once finished, just return the car to the original parking spot by the end of the reservation. A gas card will also be provided, although students will not be asked to fill the vehicle unless it is below a quarter of a tank. The Zipcars are also covered with 24/7 roadside assistance in case the car breaks down.
While planning for the Zipcar program, the SGA chose a Honda Civic and a Toyota Prius from a catalog of possible cars. “The Honda Civic is good because it seats five people, which means more options for splitting the cost with friends, and both of them get great gas mileage,” Rill said. There is a membership fee, and the cars will cost of $8 an hour for weekdays and $9 an hour for a weekend. This fee, however, is entirely paid directly back to the Zipcar company which makes this all possible. However, students are allowed to drive up to a maximum of 180 miles per trip.
The fuel economy falls in line with the university values because of the excellent fuel economy of the cars. Furthermore, by allowing students to access Zipcars as an alternative rather than simply buying their own car, it could lead to fewer students feeling they need cars, and thus displaying a greater environmental responsibility overall.
The company began in 1999 as a small rental company driven by two women who believed in car-sharing to protect the environment and allow car sharing without all the hassle of rental counters and agency personnel. Instead, they sought to simplify the process with online reservations and convenient rental times for just when the customer needed a car.
Even in Zipcar’s early years, the company knew upscaling their technology would be necessary to compete: whenever the “Check Engine” light came on, it would automatically e-mail the maintenance crew, for example. While many rental companies refused to rent to those under 21, Zipcar instead targeted the younger audience by appealing to college students. Today, Zipcar has established itself at over 300 colleges and universities and in four different countries.
On Friday, Nov. 2, Zipcar will be launched at Stetson University. SGA representatives will staff a table in front of the CUB from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will have additional information about the program. Be sure to stop by the CUB on Friday and learn more about this program.
by James Albright, SUM intern