By Sarah Beth Costello
July 29, 2009
add a third vehicle in August.
Elon is known for taking pride in sustainability campaigns and eco-friendly campus initiatives, which has prompted a growing interest in the Zipcar program.
“I hope (the car) will provide more access to vehicles for our students,” sustainability coordinator Elaine Durr said. “We have great utilization with two vehicles, but (the third) Zipcar will allow us to have another vehicle available for more students.”
Elon teamed up with the car-sharing program in 2007. It provides Zipcars to universities, businesses and cities worldwide for Zipcar members.
“When Elon started the program we made a preference for hybrids.” Durr said. “It’s nice to have at least some hybrids in the program for individuals curious about them.”
For an annual fee of $35, members have 24-hour-a-day access to the vehicles at their convenience. Zipcar provides the gas, and users pay an hourly fee for usage. Members are given a Zipcard and can reserve the cars online.
“It’s a great service to use,” Durr said. “I get a lot of positive feedback from parents knowing they can send their child to college and have a car provided.”
Typically Zipcar members must be 21 or older to participate in the program, but the Elon program allows students 18 and older to apply for membership.
Zipcar has existed in cities for several years and recently began providing vehicles to university settings. UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke also have Zipcar programs and many other North Carolina schools are considering it, Durr said.
Depending on how often the vehicles are used, Elon could potentially gain some of the money back.
“I certainly anticipate growth in the program,” Durr said. “We’ve had growth since we started and I expect to see continual growth. As we continue to grow our membership I would expect utilization will continue to go up. And Zipcar may talk about adding another vehicle.”
In April, the use of Zipcars between Monday and Friday averaged 42.3 percent and 77.6 percent on the weekends, exceeding expectations. Zipcar expects an average rate of usage as at least 40 percent.