A car company at the University of Wisconsin provides students with access to wheels without the hassles of paying for parking and insurance.
Lindsay Wester, a Zipcar spokesperson, said UW is one of the company’s largest schools and one of its strongest member bases.
Dar Ward, UW Transportations Commuter Solutions Manager, said 826 Zipcar members are currently associated with the university and members use about 2,000 hours of Zipcar service a month.
Ward said UW does not pay the car company, but it does provide parking locations free of cost. Ward said part of the contract was to provide the best deals for the community, so students pay $25 for a year rather than the non-student $60 yearly cost.
Ward said car sharing service was something the university wanted to provide for its students, so the partnership with Zipcar began in 2011 when UW put out a request for proposals for a company to provide the service.
Wester said in an email Zipcar currently has nine vehicles in and around Madison as a result of its partnership with the university.
To gain access to Zipcar, Wester said students must be older than 18 and have to go through a license and background check to make sure they have a clean driving record. She said once the check is complete, a Zipcard comes in the mail that allows the driver to swipe into a car at any of the locations.
A mobile app that allows students to look up the locations of the cars on their phone and reserve it for however long they wish, she said. From there, they can just walk to the car, swipe the card and drive away, Wester said.
“Dealing with car ownership is kind of too much when you’re a college student, and even when you move into a big city, it kind of is a money suck,” she said. “Having Zipcar provides you wheels when you want them and access to a vehicle when you need it. And when you don’t, you don’t waste any money.”
Zipcar is convenient for students who do not have access to a car and only need it for occasional trips, Wester said. She said the reservation time can vary from an hour to a few days, as long as the car is returned to the location where it was taken.
“You can use the car for a quick trip to the grocery store or to home depot. Maybe you want to buy something in bulk or head out of the city for a quick trip somewhere,” Wester said.