Campus welcomes Zipcar, a transportation alternative

The car-share company, Zipcar is now available at Sonoma State.  Students and staff can use the cars by registering online, paying a fee to reserve the cars and using them for a day – or seven.  According to Zipcar, the company provides members with all of the freedoms of owning a car, without the hassle.  The company provides the gas, insurance, allowing renters to drive a maximum of 180 miles per day.  

To participate in this alternative to car ownership, students must be 18 years of age with a valid driver’s license to register for the program and receive a membership discounted by the school, leaving the total cost to $15.

Parking Services Manager Cody Smith has seen cars frequently being used by students, especially by those living on campus. He said during the first week of service, Zipcar experienced a high volume of checkouts.

“We constantly hear about students asking their friends for rides or asking to borrow their car for something as simple as going to the grocery store,” said Smith. “With Zipcar, that’s no longer necessary. This is going to be a very convenient option for any student living on campus who does not have a car. Whether you’re running an errand or getting out of town for the day, now you’ll have a car available for use.

Zipcar is now available at Sonoma State because an initiative by the Police Services and Transportation Committee.  Other programs provided include:  Bike to work day, ride share – Alternate Rides, traffic calming and pedestrian safety and bike registration days.

“We chose to bring Zipcar to Sonoma State University after receiving several inquiries pertaining to whether or not we offered a car sharing program on campus. The program appeared to be successful at other campuses within the CSU. The implementation process moved forward after initial discussions with Zipcar,” saidSmith,.“Police Chief Nate Johnson and I presented the proposal to the Transportation Committee, whose members unanimously supported the concept.“

The cars are parked in the back corner of the Parking Lot D behind the Student Center and near Police Services.  Zipcar parking spots are marked by green signs.  

“When parking on campus the Zipcars must be parked in either of the two designated spaces in Lot D. Zipcars parked anywhere else on campus will need to park in a timed zone or obtain a parking permit,” said Smith,  “Those using Zipcar can always contact Parking Services for further clarification on the whereabouts of where to park.”

To utilize Zipcar, users can create an account online and pay the fee.  Zipcar will send you a “Zip Card” which is used to lock and unlock the car.  The keys are located in the car and remain there at all times.

The company recommends that individuals examine the cars inside and out including looking at mirrors, headlights, air conditioning, windshield wipers and the radio.  Similarly to a rental car, report the condition of the car to Zip Car and get to the road.  Cars are available for reservation for as little as an hour to seven days.  

“I strongly encourage students to utilize the Zipcar program. In using Zipcar, students will reduce the number of single occupant vehicles on campus and free up more available parking,”  said Smith. “This program will assist the campus in providing vehicle reduction strategies as required by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). This is something that our department is delighted to offer the community and we look forward to seeing its potential unfold.”

Police services later issued a statement detailing that Zipcar is not approved for official Sonoma State business and any attempt to claim reimbursements for using Zipcar.  
Police Services plans to release a press release soon.  For more information visit zipcar.com/universities/sonoma-state.