Some students debate success of Zipcar program
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 09:09
“Wheels when you want them” is the motto of the car-sharing company Zipcar. Last year, in hopes of adding another means of transportation for students without vehicles, and to make parking more manageable, UCF Parking and Transportation Services introduced a small fleet of Zipcars to the UCF main campus for students to have access to and rent.
When the car-sharing program originally came to UCF last fall, there were four Zipcars available to those registered: two Honda Insight Hybrids and two Mazda 3s. Recently, a fifth car, a Ford Focus, was added to the group for users.
According to UCF’s Office of Institutional Research, 49,703 students attend classes on the main campus and UCF Parking Services counted 17,854 available parking spots including those designated for staff and faculty. That leaves parking for less than 36 percent of students attending the main campus at any time.
Justin Crimmins, a senior studying business, commutes from downtown Orlando for classes and likes the idea behind Zipcars.
“Zipcars are awesome and really convenient for the average busy college student,” Crimmins said. “I would probably register if I didn’t live so far away. I need my car, but parking is definitely always a problem on campus.”
Nicole Abinajem, a junior studying hospitality, sees the benefits of Zipcars, but still doesn’t plan on registering to use one.
“I don’t own a car, and I don’t live on campus. I use the shuttle service. I mean, it’s free and I’m on a budget,” Abinajem said.
Abinajem said that she test-drove the Zipcars when they were first introduced to UCF and thinks they are a good idea, but doesn’t foresee them becoming big on campus.
“Students find rides from friends. I just don’t see them always renting a car when you have to go to the store or class.”
Courtney Gilmartin, communications coordinator for UCF News & Information, said that as of now, there are no plans to add any more Zipcars to the UCF campus.
“As of right now, 518 members — students, faculty and staff — have been approved to share the cars,” she said.
That’s 1.04 percent of people coming onto the main campus. Mike Serafino, the general manager of Zipcar for universities said that each Zipcar is able to meet the needs of between 40 and 60 students, faculty and staff, making parking on campus more manageable. At a time when campuses have been forced to ration parking spots, Zipcar is another option for transportation.
Eriel Ross, a senior studying business, has used the Zipcars before, but is still skeptical about how big of an impact they will make.
“They are just great. I loved how it made getting to class quick and painless as far as parking goes, but I don’t plan on renting one again,” Ross said. “I have a longboard to help when I am far from my classes. Saving that extra change at the end of the week makes a difference in what I’m able to do on my weekends.”
Zipcar provides UCF students, faculty, staff and community members with on-demand access to cars by the hour or day with the cost of gas, insurance, parking and 180 miles of driving per day included with each reservation. It costs 45 cents for each extra mile.
UCF members register with a $35 annual fee and can then rent the Zipcar for $7.50 per hour on weekdays and $8.50 per hour on weekends. Members can also rent a car for up to four days at a time at a rate of $69 per day Monday through Thursday and $77 per day Friday through Sunday. The cars can be found in parking lot B9, across from the Recreation and Wellness Center, and at parking lot H4, across from the Visual Arts Building. Registered students can make reservations in real time or up to a year in advance.