Zipcar Service Coming to FAU Fall 2014

Service offers cheaper alternative to car ownership.


[Max Jackson | Photo Editor]

Zipcar, the world’s largest car sharing and car club service, became available to students, faculty and employees at FAU on Sept. 24.

Different from the typical rental car service, Zipcar offers many services free of charge as well as a lower age requirement for rentals. According to Zipcar, depending on the area an individual lives in, the age 0

According to The USA Today, most rental car agencies set a minimum age requirement of 25 and, so far only New York and Michigan have state laws requiring rental agencies to rent to drivers age 18 and over.

Zipcar is not the typical rental car service and is different in that many items that must be payed for in a rental service come free with Zipcar’s service. According to Zipcar, depending on the area an individual lives in, the age requirement may be either 18+ or 21+.

[Max Jackson | Photo Editor]
[Max Jackson | Photo Editor]

Intended as an alternative to traditional car rental and ownership, Zipcar for Universities offers the convenience of car ownership without the hassles of having a car on campus.

“I believe that FAU decided to use Zipcar because it will help solve some of our transportation access issues for many students, especially those that live on campus. Students who do not have a reliable means of transportation will be able to get access to vehicles that will allow them to go to classes on other campuses, go to the local beach or maybe even go to the grocery store after class,” Student Body President Michael Cepeda said.

According to Cepeda, certain advantages come with using the Zipcar service as opposed to owning a car, including not having to search for parking or deal with the Parking and Transportation office, plus the cars have dedicated parking spots.

FAU will start with only two cars and see how successful the program is before expanding the selection.

There are five Florida college campuses already using the service including Stetson University; 2 cars, University of Miami; 13 cars, University of Florida; 12 cars, University of Central Florida; 7 cars, and Florida State University; 6 cars.

Since Zipcar’s early 2004 launch of its Zipcar for Business program, the company has partnered with over 300 colleges and universities across the United States.

According to Zipcar’s website, all of their cars are new and that within two years of being on the road, each car is replaced with a new one. Zipcar’s fleet of 10,000 cars internationally offers more than 30 makes and models including BMW’s, Audis, Mini Coopers, Prius Hybrids, pickup trucks and more.

If that hasn’t grabbed you yet, you’d be surprised to learn that according to the Zipcar website, Zipcar members—or Zipsters—save an average of $500 a month compared to car owners.

The service offers three plans at low-driving rates: there is the occasional driver plan, the monthly driving plan, and the extra value plan.

[Max Jackson | Photo Editor]
[Max Jackson | Photo Editor]

Sophomore David Moreshead said, “I wouldn’t use it but it really depends on the rate. It would be useful for off campus purposes, but it would be smarter to use golf carts. Cheaper too.”

No matter which you choose, gas and insurance is free and is included with the rates. Also included is up to 180 miles free per day.

“If I didn’t own a car, I would use Zipcar. I would need to get around campus. Plus, I like that membership is a once a month fee and I would get free gas and insurance, said freshman Sebastian Estrada, Exercise Science major.

Zipcar’s service offers many utilities to students, including self-service access to cars 24/7, the ability to reserve online or using your mobile device in seconds, 24/7 roadside assistance, dedicated parking and that the cars are available on campus. There’s no having to travel to get to your vehicle.

According to Zipcar, there are four simple steps to becoming a Zipster. First, join Zipcar—which only takes a few minutes—and your Zipcard will be mailed to you once approved.

Second, reserve a Zipcar online or on your mobile device, either for a couple hours or even the whole day. Third, walk to your reserved car and hold your Zipcard to the windshield, which will unlock the car doors and the car will be yours. Lastly, “zip” away and return to the same reserved parking spot you pulled out from.

Low on gas? Never fear, the Zipcar comes equipped with a gas card which can be used at any gas station.Capture

Also on the 24th is FAU’s annual Campus Sustainability Day, which will include demonstrations and exhibits featuring the many initiatives supported by the university.

They include the Mission Green Student Association, the Green Team Leaders, Dirt Pros, South Florida Commuter Services, Housing and Residential Life, and Chartwells. Students will also get the chance to learn about Zipcar and how to lower their carbon footprints.

In a Zipcar factsheet posted by Avis Budget Group, Zipcar is committed to providing its members with socially responsible, sustainable alternatives that support the global environment, their communities and city livability.

One of the group’s studies showed that miles traveled per driver is reduced by 40 percent when car owners switch to car sharing, which means less C02 emissions.

According to Zipcar’s green benefits page, every Zipcar put into service takes 15 personally-owned vehicles off the road, making the total number of cars taken off 150,000 cars. Also after joining Zipcar, 90 percent of its members drove 5,500 miles or less per year. According to Zipcar, that adds up to more than 32 million gallons of crude oil left in the ground—or 219 gallons saved per Zipster.