Students heading back to class at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln could have a little more freedom to leave campus, with a new car sharing program.
The university launched a new partnership, Monday, with Zipcar Inc., which provides a new transportation option that will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students, faculty and staff are all eligible to take part.
Vehicle privileges come with a $25 annual membership fee. The rates to drive one of the Zipcar vehicles begin at $7 an hour and $66 a day. The cost includes gasoline, insurance, reserved parking spots and up to 180 miles of driving per day. Roadside assistance is also included. Cars can be reserved for multiple days.
UNL will initially offer four vehicles, including Ford Focus and Honda Insight models. They will be in campus lots near 17th and Vine streets. Zipcars can be reserved and accessed any time, any day on a self service basis.
Those with smartphones should be able to download the Zipcar mobile application to make reservations, lock and unlock the vehicles and honk the horn to help locate the vehicle. There's also a "Reserve a Zipcar" app available on Facebook to view cars available, make, extend or cancel a reservation. Reservations can also be made over the phone or on Zipcar's website, www.zipcar.com.
Dan Carpenter, Director of Parking and Transportation Services, said students have been interested in a car-sharing or low-cost car rental program for some time. "I think we will get a lot of excitement from students about the Zipcars. The service really fills a need."
He added, "Many students find they can easily get by without having a car on campus because of our bus service, but they want options for weekend road trips or running quick errands around town. Zipcar is perfect for that."
Carpenter said the university may add more Zipcars if demand warrants it.
Zipcar has partnerships with more than 250 other universities across the United States, including Creighton University and the University of Missouri. UNL selected Zipcar following a bid process.