Zipcar to provide car-sharing service

Wichita State will be the first location in Kansas for car-sharing service Zipcar, which will make its debut on campus Thursday.

“We’re really excited to be at Wichita State,” Zipcar spokeswoman Lindsay Wester said. “We’re excited to grow there.”

Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network, was founded in 2000 with the goal of reducing pollution and helping people get transportation easily when they need it. Zipcar has more than 10,000 cars on the road across North America and parts of Europe.

Wichita State now has two of these cars, located in the parking lot on the south side of the Rhatigan Student Center.

“There really isn’t a target demographic of students for us, just anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the hassles of bringing a car to campus,” Wester said. “Students these days are interested in getting what they need, when they need it and not having to deal with the excesses that come with ownership.”

Wester said Zipcar helps to alleviate traffic congestion, parking challenges and carbon emissions. She said each Zipcar eliminates the need for up to 15 personally owned vehicles, along with reducing driving time by up to 40 percent for each member.

The cars, two Ford Focuses, will cost $7.50 per hour for students to use, or $69 for a full day. This fee includes gas and insurance for up to 180 miles of driving in one day.

A Zipcar membership will cost students $15 per year, along with the hourly cost of use. Members can reserve a timeslot with a car with the free Zipcar mobile app, the Zipcar website or a phone call.  

Zipcar will monitor the usage of the vehicles and provide another car to the university if usage rates get high enough.

“I chose the Ford Focuses simply because they were the least expensive, and I wanted to keep the cost down as much as possible for students,” said Ellen Abbey, director of Auxiliary Services for the Administration and Finances Department. “We could go larger and get a bigger vehicle if that’s what students want.”

Abbey said there is no cost or liability for the university to have Zipcar on campus.

“That’s one of the things we looked over very carefully in the contracts,” Abbey said. “The only cost is my time.”

The Zipcar launch will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday on the east patio of the Rhatigan Student Center.

There will be giveaways, information about Zipcar and registration for membership. Anyone older than 18 years of age associated with the university can join, along with community members more than 21 years old.