As a student of a very large, though mostly commuter university, I have always wondered if a car-sharing system would be a suitable here at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. I have read success stories on "Zipcar" implementation at hundreds of Universities nation-wide, but wasn't completely sure if it would be an appropriate initiative for our campus and its current fiscal situation.
Can we at least afford a small pilot program? If the service is successfully established here on campus, it could be expanded into the city and eventually across the island!
In the 90's, car-sharing started off as a rather far-fetched idea, but quickly grew into a world-wide success over the past decade. Zipcar is the leader of the industry and currently has 6,500 vehicles in operation worldwide.
Basically, Zipcar is a membership, car-rental service which charges users either per hour ($8) or per day ($66) for use of a vehicle--gas and maintenance included. It is a rather high-tech and convenient system that could really help alleviate parking problems, create a more sustainable environment, and promote student freedom here at UHM. With over 30,000 University members to date, Zipcar estimates they have taken about 12,000 personally owned vehicles off of University campuses.
Faculty and surrounding community members could utilize the service in addition to our 20,000+ students. As a replacement of our current fleet of state automobiles, Zipcar could help alleviate the current budget crisis our campus is facing. Members may also enjoy their membership while visiting any of the other 26 states or 120+ college campus with Zipcar.
More information can be found at:
After Chancellor Hinshaw let me know that car sharing was something that she has thought about supporting for our University, I decided to look into it and contacted Zipcar.
Last month, I received a call from the national account executive or Zipcar, Robert Lynch. After speaking for a half hour or so to lay out the groundwork of the scale and purpose of the type of program that would be appropriate for our campus, he drafted a proposal which the ASUH has been reviewing over the summer.
[caption id="attachment_326" align="aligncenter" width="510" caption="Zipcar offers more than 30 makes and models of self-service vehicles. "][/caption]
Personally, I feel as though this is something that may work out during our current financial situation since Zipcar, as a private company is liable for most risks of the program. But I would also like to see a pickup truck included in the proposal and not JUST the uber-gas-efficient small cars; they are awesome to be included, but not definitely not sufficient for North Shore weekend ventures!
Once our University is established as a successful pilot, Zipcar could also be expanded into the community of Honolulu and help de-congest our streets. We could start a movement here, just let me know how you feel about this initiative. With student support and unity, we'll make this happen!