Friday, October 24, 2014

Zipcar use declines

Change of locations lessens publicity of campus’ short-term rental cars

Zipcars first became available to Liberty University students in the fall of 2011, according to Ted Sweet, transportation and transit manager. Since then, he said their location has changed three times, and students have started to forget about them.

“I used to know where the Zipcars were, but then (Liberty) moved them and made the road two-way traffic,” senior Megan Warner said.

Sweet stated that students’ usage of Zipcars on Liberty’s campus has decreased since 2011 due to the cars being out of sight and out of mind.

RIDE — Liberty is one of 350 colleges with Zipcars. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

RIDE — Liberty is one of 350 colleges with Zipcars. Photo credit: Courtney Russo

“(Moving the Zipcars) from DeMoss (Hall) to Green Hall affected it to where (students used) it less, because it is not the core center of (Liberty),” Sweet said. “That is why we moved them again, because at Green Hall they are already at the bus areas, and everything (students) need to get to is already there.”

At the beginning of March, the two Zipcars on Liberty’s campus were moved yet again — one to the parking lot across from the Vines Center and the other to the parking lot at David’s Place on East Campus, Sweet said.

According to Sweet, Zipcars are only used approximately a quarter of the time that they are available, because they are not promoted enough and because of the poor location on campus, but he anticipates that the new locations will change that.

“I’m hoping it’ll increase drastically, because we have a lot of students on campus that aren’t driving,” he said.

Zipcars are available on 350 colleges and universities around the United States, Sweet explained. On many campuses, freshmen are the most common users.

“We have some (rental cars) through transit you can rent out, but you have to be over the age of 21,” he said. “Zipcar doesn’t have an age limit like rental car companies, so that gives them a car. If they want to go and do everything they want to do around town, they can take a zipcar.”

Junior Cori Gary explained that she rented the Zipcars when she was a freshman and loved it.

“When I was a freshman, I used it to get around, because my car was in Texas, but now, I have my car here, so I don’t use it as much,” Gary said.

According to the Zipcar website, all one has to do to rent a car is become a member to get a Zipcard, reserve a car online or on a mobile device, use the Zipcard to unlock the car and then return the car to the same spot. Gas and insurance are included.

Sweet explained that he believes Zipcars are a good alternative to bringing a car to school, because there is always going to be a cost.

“Whether you pay for a parking pass and drive on campus and worry about your gas … or whether you just rent a Zipcar, either way you are paying,” he said.

Zipcars are available to students, faculty, staff and departments and can be taken anywhere as long as they are returned to the home locations by the end of their reservation period.
For more information on Zipcars, visit zipcar.com.

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