Increasingly large freshmen classes and a shrinking parking inventory have left the universityâ€™s parking services department with traffic congestion issues. But, with this semesterâ€™s addition of a new car-sharing program, CSU officials are hoping to reduce the need and downsides of students using their own vehicles to get around.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to look for other ways to meet the needs of our customers without maybe having to spend a lot of money on building additional parking,â€ said Dave Bradford, CSU director of parking services.
The car-sharing program known as Zipcar will launch Sept. 12 and bring five vehicles to campus available for students, faculty, staff and Fort Collins community members to rent at $8 per hour and $66 per day, but only after first paying a $35 annual membership fee.
â€œWeâ€™re crediting ($35) back to them to use for their first drive,â€ said Bill Connolly, a Zipcar representative.
Vehicles available for students to drive are 2011 models and include one Ford Escape, two Toyota Priuses and two Mazda 3s. The cars are parked around CSU in designated Zipcar spaces and can be rented by going online, calling a number, using a mobile phone application and reserving the car of their choosing during specific time windows.
â€œItâ€™s a good mix of sporty cars, hybrid cars and SUVs,â€ Connolly said.
With each rental comes the backing of roadside assistance for up to 180 miles, a dedicated parking spot on campus, gas required for the car and insurance. If a Zipcar runs out of fuel while on the road, its driver can use a prepaid gas card kept in the vehicleâ€™s visor.
The university has a three-year agreement with Zipcar, after which it will assess the companyâ€™s success to determine whether it should stay on campus. Officials will also determine if more vehicles should be added at that time.
CSU does not receive money from Zipcar as part of their deal.
â€œThey (students) would use alternatives if they are available,â€ Bradford said. â€œWeâ€™re hoping that we can provide that to students, as Zipcar will help with CSUâ€™s green initiative, reduce congestion, achieve sustainability goals and help people not have to drive to work everyday.â€
Senior reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the numbers
Number of personally owned vehicles taken off the road for every Zipcar.
Number of Zipcars at CSU.
Percentage of the population expected to adopt a car-sharing program as their primary mode of transportation.
Source: Zipcar representatives