Zipcars are now available on campus for the first time to provide accessible transportation as an alternative to shuttles and parking spaces.
Zip cars are rental vehicles available to students, faculty or staff. The vehicles require an hourly and daily fee and are provided by Zipcar, a company that provides cars for rental or sharing programs for the university to use.
Students without personal vehicles on campus began expressing interest for alternative transportation, so they would be able to run errands or use them over the weekends, said Steve Herrera, interim manager of Shuttle Services.
Proposals were solicited to interested parties, and the Submittals and Evaluations Committee chose Zipcar as the provider, Herrera said. In August, an agreement was signed to create an association with Zipcar, he said. Students had a large desire to travel outside of the university without having to ride the bus, Herrera said.
Zipcar pays dealerships like Ford or Honda for the cars, which are then shipped down to each location, said C.J. Himberg, communications and social media coordinator of Zipcar. Zipcar works closely with Ford and that is why there are Ford Focuses on campus, she said. In their partnership with the dealership, Zipcar is able to offer students discounted hourly rates on Ford cars and give students $10 off the joining rate.
Zipcar is membership based, Himberg said. Once a student becomes a member, they can apply for a car. People 21 and over need to submit their driving records, while people ages 18 to 20 do not need driving records, she said. Those who want to rent a Zipcar must have had a driver’s license for over a year, she said.
Once accepted into the program, a “zip card” is sent through the mail directly to the user. After receiving the card, one simply scans it into the car where the keys and gas card are located inside, Himberg said.
Users pay $7.50 per hour and $69 per day to use the cars. The $69 includes gas, insurance, a reserved spot on campus and 180 miles of driving for each day. Reservations can be made for up to seven days with 180 miles each day, Himberg said.
Zipcars have had a high success rate since their debut on campus at the beginning of the semester, Herrera said.
“I really have a passion for alternative transportation and I think Zipcar is a good solution we need as commuters,” Herrera said.
After students graduate, they can still carry on their relationship with Zipcar, Himberg said. If they continue to pay an annual fee, members can have access to cars all over the world. After turning 21, users have a wider selection of vehicles like zip vans and convertibles, Himberg said.
If a Zipcar user were to get into a car accident, a member services team is on call to send over help, said Lindsay Wester, public relations specialist for Zipcar.
Zipcar has reserved spots on campus wherever they are made available, Wester said. Two spots are located in the LBJ Student Center driveway.
“Zipcar is a great addition to the transportation matrix,” Wester said. “You can grab a Zipcar and go and you don’t have to worry about moving your car and losing a parking spot.”
People who have personal vehicles can also take advantage of the Zipcars, Himberg said.
“I live in Boston, Massachusetts, and we have a great transit system so I don’t really need to own a car day to day, but I do like being able to drive home for a weekend or go to the beach sometimes, or take one of the larger vehicles to Ikea or Target to do a big shopping trip,” Himberg said.
One Honda, one Nissan and two Ford vehicles are available for students, faculty and staff, Herrera said.