Rental cars for college students, ages 18 and up

Zipcar Inc., a nation-wide car-sharing company, launched their partnership with the University of Puget Sound this semester, providing students a convenient, environmentally friendly method of transportation. Zipcars are available to students all day, every day.

Last fall, Zipcar Inc. and the University of Puget Sound discussed launching a partnership at the beginning of the spring 2009 semester. However, it became a summer project so that the program would be prepared to launch at the beginning of the fall 2010 semester.

During the summer, Todd Badham, director of security at Puget Sound, worked with a representative from the university’s insurance provider to work out a contract for the partnership. Katherine Davis, associate vice president for treasury, and Nicole Mulhausen also worked with Badham on establishing the contract with the insurance provider. There was a lot of contract review because of all the liabilities, especially in operating the vehicles. Then around late July, a contract and the launch program were finalized.

“It’s basically an outside company doing business on campus, so really the university has no obligation to train students to be safe drivers and make sure they have a clean driving record; that’s all on the company. The crux of the whole thing was to make sure the university wasn’t exposing itself in that way,” Badham says.

Students can register for their membership online and once students receive their Zipcard, cars can be reserved hourly or per day, for up to four days. Rates vary from $8 per hour or $66 per day on weekdays and $9 per hour on the weekends. The rates for the Zipcars include gas, insurance, reserved parking sports, and roadside assistance.

Puget Sound does not gain any revenue from the fees and rates paid for the use of the Zipcars by students, faculty, and staff.

Puget Sound has a college-specific program through Zipcar, which is very different from most car-sharing programs in the sense that it allows students who are only 18 years of age to use the cars. Furthermore, if you are 21 years old, then you are automatically part of a national membership, which means if you travel, you are eligible to use Zipcars in other areas as well. It also works vice versa; people who have a national membership can use Puget Sound’s cars.

Badham remarked, “That increases our usage and gives the university some pretty good exposure. We have the opportunity to bring people to campus who wouldn’t normally visit and that is a great thing because then people will be exposed to the university. It’s a win-win.”

Currently, Puget Sound is home to two Zipcars, which was the recommended minimum by the company for a community of our size. Zipcar Inc. will add cars when they feel that the program has progessed enough at the school.  It is the hope of the university that our zipcar fleet will expand in the upcoming years.