Amid the myriad of transportation options available to students, Zipcar, a car sharing service available on the CSU East Bay campus since April 2010, helps make transportation up and down the hill to the campus easier for students.
Going to the movie theater, being on time for a job interview or going to a dentist appointment doesn’t mean hiking up and down the hill for those students who choose to use the program.
“Zipcar is a great alternative to AC Transit or our campus shuttle because [students] can go on [their] schedule. [They] are not tied to the times that the bus or shuttle run,” explained Derrick Lobo, a Parking Service Coordinator on the campus.
Zipcar describes its service as “join, reserve, unlock, drive.”
CSUEB students 18 and over with a valid driver’s license can join the co-op car rental service online for $25 a year.
Zipcar asks for a driver’s license record which American and Canadian students can easily provide documentation for in English.
But for international students, it appears to be harder.
Melanie Mendy, a 23-year-old exchange student from France, tried to register when she first heard of the service at the international student orientation a few weeks ago but ran into difficulties.
“I would be interested in joining Zipcar if they didn’t ask for my record, which is difficult to obtain in English,” said Mendy.
This issue has not stopped many international students from registering in the program, however, as “About 25 to 30 percent of [the] members are international students living on the campus,” according to Lobo.
Once the membership is approved by Zipcar, they deliver the student a Zipcard in three to seven business days.
Then students have to book a car online, zip their card to unlock it and drive.
The Hayward campus Zipcar station has “250 registered students and 14 staff members,” confirmed Mr. Lobo, with most student members living on campus.
The rates are $8 an hour and $66 a day on the weekdays with prices at $9 an hour and $72 a day for the weekends.
So what draws students to Zipcar?
“The price, the fact that the gas is included,” said Allison Lee, a Communication major who lives in Pioneer Heights campus housing.
Rates include gasoline—a prepaid card is available in the car—and insurance coverage.
Depending on the frequency of use, Zipcar can also be less expensive than having a car.
Maria Delrio, a 20-year-old student who has been a member since 2010, thinks that the prices “Are reasonable but they heighten when you use it a lot.”
Compared to other rental car services on the market, Zipcar is also among the cheapest.
The daily rental price of Zipcar’s competitors such as Enterprise, Avis and Hertz is around $20 a day, but students under 25 have to pay an extra $15 to $20 daily fee.
Some car rentals like Hayward Budget even refuse to rent a car to people from 18 to 24 years old.
At the moment, Zipcar offers a special deal for university students, thanks to a recent partnership with Ford, where students can join for $25 dollars and get a $35 driving discount.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, October 20th, 2011 at 12:21 pm.