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Zipcars come to campus in effort to discourage cars

Zipcars come to campus in effort to discourage cars

Denton, Texas 01/26/2017 Zipcars parked outside of the University Union. Students need to get approval by the company and pay a $15 membership before using the cars. Hourly use rate go from $7.50 to $9.50. Both gas and insurance are included with the reservation of the car. Jennyfer Rodriguez

Zipcars come to campus in effort to discourage cars
February 01
18:04 2017

Zipcar now offers its services to the students and faculty of UNT in an effort to discourage bringing cars to campus.

Zipcar is a car rental service that provides a new way to get off campus by utilizing its website or mobile app. Geary Robinson, director of parking and transportation services, said the university is looking into alternative methods of transportation for new students. 

“Zipcar provides another alternative for students coming into campus, particularly international students and freshmen,” Robinson said. “This is to encourage them that they don’t have to bring a car because they have the transportation system and Zipcar.”

Students can sign up for a Zipcar membership for an initial fee of $15, according to the Zipcar website. Students signing up online will have to wait for their Zipcard to be mailed to them, whereas signing up on the app will instantly send an e-version of the card.

Zipcards are used to unlock the Zipcars by using a scanning device located on the windshield. The keys to the cars are inside of the car. Gas and insurance are included with membership, and if a driver needs more gas, there is a gas card available for use. 

Before getting behind the wheel, students must request a specific time for car usage and only after requesting do they receive access to the car. Students can rent these cars at any time for hours or days, with hourly fees ranging from $7.50 to $9.50 and daily fees from $69 to $77. Fees vary on weekends compared to weekdays and depending on what kind of car students use.

Nathan Huber, Zipcar’s field marketing manager for Texas, noted that several big universities here in Texas, such as University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M at College Station, Rice University and many others, have also partnered with Zipcar.

“Based on the success we’ve seen at those universities, it seemed like a natural fit for us to be here at the University of North Texas,” Huber said.  

Huber explained that Zipcar pays UNT a fee for the four parking spaces reserved on campus. Robinson further described that the parking fee Zipcar pays is the going-price for 24/7 reserved parking, which is currently $525 per parking space.

Huber said the amount that students pay for these services go directly to the Zipcar company. UNT receives no commission.

Students said they feel the service targets a small part of the student population and that its impact will be small.

“It’s probably most beneficial for students like me, who don’t have a car and live on campus, because then if you have the money, you can just get into the Zipcar and go somewhere,” physics freshman Michael Brown said. “But that’s a very small group of students who don’t have a car, live on campus, and have enough money. It helps out marginally, but it doesn’t help out all the way.”

Biochemistry sophomore Madison Roberts echoed Brown’s sentiments, and said she would like to see parking services find solutions that benefit everyone.

“I don’t really think it’s beneficial,” Roberts said. “[UNT parking] needs to find a way to accommodate everybody. I guess this was their solution but I think what they need to do is just give us parking.”

For others, Zipcar is a way to have more means of transportation.

“I think it’s a great idea for those who don’t own cars,” said Osayi Juliet Ebolo, an international security and diplomacy junior. “Students most of the time want to get during the weekends and they’re always restricted to the buses. It’s going to help them a lot.”

Robinson said the feedback has been mostly positive and he hopes that the trend will continue. He said Zipcar usage has been trending upward since the semester started. Currently, there are only four cars on campus, but as the number of users grow, there will be more cars available.

“I think it’s going to take a couple semesters [to catch on], according to what I’ve seen at other universities,” Robinson said.

Featured Image: Zipcars parked outside of the University Union. Students need to get approval by the company and pay a $15 membership before using the cars. Hourly use rates go from $7.50 to $9.50. Both gas and insurance are included with the reservation of the car. Jennyfer Rodriguez 

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Celeste Gracia

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