Zipcar, Inc., an environmentally-friendly rental car company that leases out compact cars on an hourly and daily basis, arrived on the College of William and Mary’s campus this August.
Two of the College’s Zipcars are parked on James Blair Boulevard, while the other two are kept on Wake Drive near Dupont Hall.
The decision to utilize the company was part of a joint partnership between Parking Services and the Committee on Sustainability.
According to Director of Auxiliary Services Caroline Davis, bringing the car-sharing service to has been a goal at the College for several years.
“We tried to bring Zipcars to campus last year, but it wasn’t feasible at the time,” she said.
Four other universities in Virginia are members of the Zipcar program: the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, Virginia Tech and Virginia Commonwealth University.
“We are anticipating Zipcar to be well received by our campus community, especially our freshmen and sophomores who are not permitted to bring their own cars from home,” Davis said. “If we have good transportation parking options on campus, fewer students will bring their cars on campus in the future.”
Any member of the College community over age 18 can access and reserve one of the four Zipcars 24 hours a day, either through an online service or via the Zipcar iPhone App.
To rent a vehicle, one must register on the Zipcar website and place a down payment of $35, which is later reimbursed as a credit toward renting the cars.
The cars are self service and come loaded with 180 miles worth of gasoline upon rental. The College’s fleet includes one hybrid model.
Matthew Malloy, Vice President of Global University Operations at Zipcar, said the addition of four Zipcars should work to alleviate some of the concerns of limited parking on campus.
“Cost-savings, convenience, reduced demand for parking and less congestion on campus are just some of the benefits that we are confident the William & Mary community will experience,” Mallow said in a press release. “Since every Zipcar takes approximately 15 to 20 privately owned vehicles off the road, the University will also be able to reduce its overall carbon footprint and impact on the environment.”
Emily Anthony ’12, who has a car registered on campus, thinks that the introduction of Zipcars could help alleviate parking concerns, despite the removal of spots to accommodate the cars.
“I think the Zipcars are a really good idea,” she said. “I’m mainly impressed by the newness of it all. And as far as parking spaces, the cars are only taking up four spots, and Parking Services has a lot more problems to deal with than four parking spots.”
While many upperclassmen have access to transportation, freshmen and sophomores, who are unable to
purchase residential parking passes, will see the most immediate impact of the program.
“When I first saw the Zipcars around campus, I wasn’t sure what they were,” Mark Moran ’14 said. “But now that I know, I’ll plan to use them to go off campus, because I’m a freshman and don’t have my own car.”