Zipcar program ready to roll … on campus and beyond
Drivers, start those engines. Millikan and Martynas are ready to roll.
A fleet of six Zipcars – including a Mazda 3 called Millikan and a Toyota Matrix called Martynas that are assigned to campus – went into service in Champaign and Urbana on Jan. 13.
The cars, which rent for $8 an hour or $66 a day, offer drivers the convenience of a vehicle when they need one, without the additional expenses of fuel, maintenance and insurance.
Drivers affiliated with the UI, including students who are at least 18 years of age, can join the program for an annual fee of $35. University-affiliated drivers who join will receive a $35 credit that they can apply to rentals during their first month. Members can add other drivers to their account for an annual fee of $35.
The annual fee for community members not affiliated with the UI is $50 with a $25 application fee. Community members who join before July 31 will receive a $50 credit that they can apply to rentals during their first month.
Members can drive up to 180 free miles per day; additional miles cost 35 cents per mile.
Zipcar members age 21 and older can access Zipcars at any location around the world where Zipcar has a fleet; students age 18-20 can only rent Zipcars in Champaign and Urbana. In addition to having had a valid license for at least a year, a potential member also must meet Zipcar’s safe driver criteria: no more than two moving violations, accidents (or both) in the past three years and no more than one moving violation or accident in the past 18 months. Potential members also cannot have had a major violation, such as being ticketed for driving under the influence or driving with a suspended or revoked license, during the past three years.
The UI, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District and the cities of Champaign and Urbana created an interagency partnership to bring the Zipcar program to town. The interagency agreement includes a revenue guarantee for Zipcar. Each car will need to be used at least 40 hours a week during two successive calendar quarters to eliminate the guarantee. The Champaign-Urbana community is Zipcar’s smallest market thus far.
According to Zipcar, every Zipcar removes 15-20 private vehicles from the road.
“The goal is to reduce emissions and improve safety on campus by reducing the number of cars on campus,” said Morgan Johnston, transportation demand management coordinator in the Facilities and Services. “Zipcar is perfect for someone who doesn’t need their car all day, every day, while they’re on campus, for example, if they need a car occasionally to run errands or go to a doctor’s appointment.”
After a member reserves a vehicle online, the vendor sends the reservation information to the vehicle by way of wireless technology. When the member’s rental time begins, the members hold an electronic pass called a “Zipcard” over a similar shaped radio frequency I.D. device embedded in the windshield to unlock the car, and use a key that’s tethered to the steering column to start it. The vehicles will not start if a reservation has not been made. When the member is finished with the vehicle, they return it to the same parking spot and use the Zipcard to lock it.
Zipcar provides gas cards for drivers to buy gas, and provides roadside assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Millikan and Martynas have permanent parking spaces on Wright Street near the intersection with Daniel Street. Another Mazda 3 and a Scion xD are parked at Lincoln Square in Urbana; a third Mazda 3 and a Toyota Prius hybrid are available at University Avenue and Neil Street in downtown Champaign.
The cars made their debut Jan. 13 during an event at the Illinois Terminal building in downtown Champaign.
According to its Web site, Zipcar currently provides 400 cars to 20,000 students and faculty and staff members at more than 100 campuses, including the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin. Worldwide, Zipcar has 5,000 cars, each with its own unique name, on the road and more than 50 makes and models in its fleet.
News Bureau, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
507 E. Green St., Suite 345, Champaign, Illinois 61820
Telephone 217 333-1085, Fax 217 244-0161