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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

ZipCar Fleet Benefits Sustainable Travel Options

ZipCar is helping to make UF more sustainable by reducing the number of cars on campus. UF has partnered with the car-sharing company to make hourly rentals available to students, faculty and staff. Departments also can use Zipcars as an alternative to fleet vehicles. Individuals and departments can register and reserve cars online. The primary advantage of ZipCar to students is that "it allows people 18 and older to rent a car, when most companies require their customers to be 25 or older," according to Ron Fuller, Assistant Director of Parking and Transportation.

ZipCar, formerly FlexCar on campus, has been at UF for three years. Fuller stated that there has been a positive response to the program, receiving around "two to three applications a day--some days as many as five.” Zipcar usage gained momentum this fall, with August and September of 2009 having the highest rate of Zipcar usage on UF campus. Zipcar reported ithat the usage rate during September 2009 doubled from September 2008.

UF has worked with ZipCar to make a variety of cars available and ready on campus, including Honda Civic hybrids, Scion xB, Toyota Matrix and Honda Odyssey vans. These cars are conveniently parked on campus with reserved spots, so that customers do not have to waste time trying to locate parking. Reservations are made online and cars can be unlocked by a Zipcard or an iPhone app.

"The biggest advantage of and reason for having ZipCar available here on campus is that it is a tool for reducing single-occupancy cars coming to campus," said Fuller. ZipCar uniquely helps to address this issue by providing transportation in the small increments of time that people usually need a car, such as a trip to the grocery store. When used in conjunction with RTS, carpooling, or other methods of alternative transportation, ZipCar is a convenient and more sustainable substitute to driving alone.

ZipCar is an affordable alternative for both employees and students to bringing their own car to campus. For individuals, it costs just $35 to sign up, which includes $35 of free driving. Departments can sign up for free, and set up Zipcar accounts that will bill directly to a PCard. Gas and insurance for the vehicles are included in the rental fees, currently $8/hr or $66/weekday. The online application process is quick and easy to navigate at