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Zipcars On Campus Bring a New Transportation Option for Students, Concerns

KYLEIGH PANETTA

STAFF WRITER

A screenshot of the online signup page for Zipcars at Manhattan College.

A screenshot of the online signup page for Zipcars at Manhattan College.

Manhattan College is introducing a Zipcar program on campus that will provide an additional transportation option to students, but the program’s logistics may be troubled by a few bumps in the road.

Ken Waldhof, director of business services, decided to bring two Zipcars to Manhattan College’s campus starting in 2014 to help students get around more easily in the local area.

Zipcars are vehicles that are parked in a designated spot and can be rented at an hourly or daily rate through a membership.

The Zipcar pricing rate varies but always includes insurance, 180 miles per day and a gas card so that money for gas is not an additional burden to students.

In order to sign up to use MC’s Zipcars, the user must be at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license. Then he or she simply logs onto zipcar.com/manhattan to sign up and get approved for a membership.

After the sign up is complete, reservations can be made from a computer or an app for iPhone or Android. When it is time to use the Zipcar, the student can swipe the membership card over the sensor on the driver’s side of the windshield to unlock it. The keys and gas card are all inside the car.

When the user is done using the car, it should be parked back in a designated parking spot and the card should be swiped back over the outside sensor to lock it.

Nancy DiPietro is a parent of a senior at the college and said that she would have liked to have been informed by administration that Zipcars would be available to her son and other students.

“Our son would tell us but other parents maybe wouldn’t be so informed. Administration should let the parents know as well,” DiPietro said.

Waldhof plans to promote Zipcars on campus.

“We will post to MC Announcements, offer promotional cards and flyers through Residence Life and Dining venues around campus, as well as MC social media and emails,” he said. “Zipcar will also come to campus to provide information and sign up new members early in the semester.”

Julia Chesterman, a junior majoring in exercise science, said that she recently found out about the Zipcars during her resident assistant training and thinks that they are a very useful option to have on campus.

“It’s really convenient if you were to bring a friend to a train station or to pick up friends from places like Yonkers, where you don’t have the subway to take you there,” Chesterman said. “Or even if you wanted to go shopping to some of the other places in White Plains.”

According to Zipcar.com, other universities have benefited from this service because it “reduces demand for on-campus parking and is a sustainable alternative transportation solution that reduces your carbon footprint”.

One thing that Zipcar does not address for universities is how its service may create issues with drunk driving.

Zipcars do come with insurance but a problem arises if a student uses a Zipcar to drive to a bar like sophomore peace studies major Micheal-Ann Angel said may happen.

Angel said that she knows many students go to a bar that is not easily accessed by subway near Fordham University. This particular situation could cause many problems if students chose to drive a Zipcar home while intoxicated.

Another problem that could emerge is if a student does not have experience driving in New York City but decides to rent a Zipcar. Although insurance is included with the rental, it is unclear how the college or Zipcar will handle accidents with the vehicles.

Waldhof said that the two Ford Focus cars available for rental were scheduled to be in the new Kelly Commons parking lot on Monday, August 25.  Students can begin to make use of this resource this semester.

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