Magazine article University Business

Shared Wheels, Economical Deals on Campus

Magazine article University Business

Shared Wheels, Economical Deals on Campus

Article excerpt

FORMAL CAMPUS CAR-SHARING PROGRAMS continue to gain momentum, despite the recession. They're certainly good for the environment. Zipcar reports that for every one of its cars on a campus, 15 personal cars can come off the campus. Students, faculty, and staff with the car-sharing perk are more likely to use alternate modes of transportation if they know they have access to an inexpensive rental vehicle for hourly use.

But what leaders at colleges and universities with car-sharing programs know--and appreciate in this economy--is that these environmentally sustainable efforts are also designed to be financially sustainable. They can even help an institution save capital funds.

While programs vary by institution and provider, they generally require an individual to apply online for an annual membership (usually at a cost) and then pay a nominal per-hour fee or a daily rate to reserve use of a car that's parked on campus with key inside. A swipe of a membership card through the car's RFID reader

unlocks the door. Reservations are taken in multiple ways, including by cell phone, so one could be standing next to a vehicle and reserve it in seconds.

Gas, maintenance, and insurance are covered for the school and the users, although the contract may include a revenue guarantee to cover costs in case there aren't enough rentals. For example, smaller schools and programs partnering with Zipcar must guarantee $1,500 per car, per month.

With U Car Share, offered by U-Haul, on the other hand, the only guarantee institutions must make is for help in marketing the program. …

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