Zipcar Zooms into Occidental College

Starting today, Occidental College students, faculty, staff, and local residents can reserve two on-campus cars by the hour or day through Zipcar.com, the world's leading car-sharing service.

 

The College partnered with Zipcar Inc. for this environmentally friendly, cost-effective transportation choice to ease local traffic congestion, lower demand for on-campus parking, and provide a convenient option to people who don't want the high costs or hassle of owning a car. Each Zipcar takes 15-20 privately owned cars off the road, according to the Cambridge, Mass.-based company.

A 2010 Toyota Prius and a 2010 Scion xB are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to Occidental students, staff, and faculty ages 18 and older, and to local residents 21 years and older. The cars are parked in clearly marked stalls on the west side of Baer Road, near the College tennis courts and Campus Safety office.

"Zipcar frees people from always having their own car, and that results in less pollution, less climate change, and also less hassle," said Mark Vallianatos, policy director of Occidental's Urban & Environmental Policy Institute and a member of the college's Sustainability Committee.

Oxy students, staff, faculty and local residents must become members of Zipcar to reserve the vehicles. Sign up at www.zipcar.com/Oxy. Membership for the Oxy community costs $35 a year. That fee also includes $35 worth of free driving to use in the first month of membership. Local residents can also join at www.zipcar.com for $50 a year and a one-time application fee of $25. Gas, insurance, and 180 free miles are included in each Zipcar reservation.

"Having a car on campus adds parking, gas and maintenance costs to the college and to students, faculty, administrators and staff. This is a cost that's often hard to swallow when the car sits idle 90 percent of the time," said Matthew Malloy, vice president of global university operations at Zipcar. "We're confident that the Occidental community will that find our service is easy, convenient and cost-effective to use."

The cost of using a Zipcar is about $8 an hour/$66 for any 24-hour period during the week, and about $9 an hour/$72 for any 24-hour period on weekends. Oxy Zipcar members --- known as "Zipsters" -- who are 18-20 years old have access to the College's two on-campus vehicles, while Zipsters 21 years and up also have access to thousands of Zipcars in North America and the United Kingdom.

Zipcars can be accessed 24 hour a day and are easily reserved online. Members can also download a Zipster iPhone app to book a car, honk its horn to locate it, and remotely unlock its doors. The company uses radio frequency identification technology (RFID) to ensure vehicle security. For instance, an RFID tag on a Zipcar's windowshield "reads" a reservation when a Zipster presses his or her membership card against it.

To qualify for membership, drivers must have a valid driver's license and must have had the license for at least one year. In addition, drivers under 21 must have a clean driving record: no moving violations, no accidents, and no major violations such as excessive speed. Drivers 21 and over must have had no more than two moving violations or accidents in the past two years, no major violations in the past three years, and no alcohol violations in the last seven years.

The Zipcar car-sharing program is the latest in a series of new green initiatives at Occidental, including a bike-sharing program launched earlier this year, a student vegetable garden, a student Sustainability House, and the creation of a Green Fund to raise money among alumni for green initiatives.

The Bike Share program was launched last April with 8-10 mountain and road bicycles that were abandoned on campus or donated by alumni. Students, faculty and staff can walk up to the checkout desk at Clapp Library and check out a bike and safety equipment for up to 24 hours - almost like checking out a book. The share bikes, which are maintained by students, are kept in a locked rack in front of the library.

Zipcar operates in more than 100 colleges and universities across North America, as well as in cities in throughout the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom. More than 30 makes and models of self-service automobiles are available by the hour or the day to residents and businesses.

To learn more about the Occidental-Zipcar partnership, go to www.zipcar.com.