Ben Hoyer | Guest Writer
Have you ever regretted not having your car on campus?
Many students have good reason not to bring their car to campus – whether it’s against campus rules or their car is way older than they are, many students leave their cars at home. Now they can experience the benefits of a car without bringing their own, because Zipcar has arrived on Wheaton’s campus.
Zipcar is a car sharing company that allows students and faculty to rent cars by the hour or for a day. The requirements are simple: Any legal driver 18 years or older can rent a Zipcar and enjoy the chance to experience freedom off campus. Zipcars can be rented by anyone with a driver’s license, even if that license is an international one.
In addition, Zipcars are ecofriendly. Zipcars can help colleges reduce congestion and pollution on campus, and they are designed with the environment in mind.
“Zipcar is ... an environmentally friendly transportation alternative. Each car shared removes 15 privately owned vehicles from the road, thereby cutting down on emissions,” said Michael Serafino, Zipcar University’s general manager, in an article about the arrival of Zipcar to Wheaton. Zipcar’s vision is about reducing the reliance on personally owned cars and keeping the environment clean. The vision statement on the company’s website says that more Zipcars on the road “mean(s) less congestion, less pollution, less dependence on oil, and cleaner, fresher air to breathe.”
Leya Petrovani, executive vice president of college life, wrote in an email, “I hope that Zipcar will enable students to take full advantage of what Wheaton and the surrounding areas have to offer. ... We all know what it’s like to be at Wheaton and not have access to a car. Our hope is that Zipcars will provide students with a more affordable and accessible option than bringing their own car to campus.”
So here’s how you can get behind the wheel of a Zipcar: Go online to zipcar.com and register yourself as a student of Wheaton College under the “for universities” tab. There is no application fee for students to join. Later, you will receive a “Zipcard” in the mail. This will be your access to the Zipcar vehicles. Then, using your smartphone, computer or iPad, reserve the vehicle you wish to use. Once your reservation is made you may walk up to your car and scan your card over the scanner system in the windshield. There are two reserved Zipcar parking places around campus where you can find the cars. The car will then open, and it is yours until your purchased time is done. Both gas and insurance charges are covered in your $7.50 per hour or $69 per day charge. If the car ever needs gas while you are driving, just pull up to any gas station and fill up by using the gas card located inside the vehicle. All gas charges are included in an annual $25 membership fee.
Initially, Zipcar is going to offer Wheaton College a Ford Focus and a Honda Insight in the T lot behind Arena Theatre. For those without transportation, Zipcar is your connection to the greater Chicago area.
Photo Credit: Allison Freet
Printed in the September 7, 2012, issue of The Wheaton Record. Send comments to email@example.com.