On August 24, 2015, Trinity announced a partnership with Zipcar, a car sharing service now available to students, faculty and staff. Zipcar is replacing the former Hertz on Demand car sharing service that was removed from campus in the spring.
According to David Tuttle, dean of students and associate vice president for student affairs, the Hertz rental program was removed from campus due to national issues with the program.
“The program collapsed nationally, so I think it was well intentioned and well designed, but it just wasn’t resourced properly. Hertz decided to pull the plug on the program all together,” Tuttle said.
Hertz on Demand was unpopular among the student body according to Adam Mueller, vice president of Student Government Association.
“I think the big thing with Hertz was that no one was using it and they changed their price- raising it,” Mueller said. “It didn’t make any sense to the university to keep it going.”
Tuttle announced in an email to the Trinity campus on March 14 that Hertz on Demand would be leaving campus. A few students responded in disapproval with the removal of Hertz on Demand, according to Tuttle.
“A couple of students responded saying, ‘Well this is inconvenient for me because I’ve been counting on that program.’ We reached out to Zipcar and were able to have them come to our campus,” Tuttle said. “It offers a similar service it’s an affordable, short-term, online car rental for people that are 18 and over who otherwise couldn’t get cars.”
Tuttle noted that Zipcar is intended to fill the void that Hertz on Demand left. Trinity has two Zipcar vehicles available for use, a Ford Focus and a Ford Escape, located near Mabee dining hall.
Katelyn Chesley, public relations specialist for Zipcar, explains the process for using Zipcar.
“You just sign up online, you get your Zipcard in the mail a few days later, then you reserve a car on the app, online or the phone,” said Chesley. “After you make your reservation, you just walk up to the car and tap your Zipcard on the windshield and the door unlocks and then you just get in and go.”
The rates for Zipcar were announced in a press release issued on Wednesday, August 24 stating, “This year, Trinity University members can join for $15, with rates for Zipcar vehicles on campus starting as low as $7.50 per hour and $69 per day. After the first year, members will pay an annual membership fee of $25.”
Furthermore, the press release states, “Gas, insurance, and up to 180 miles of driving per day are included in Zipcar rates.”
Chesley noted that Zipcar asks for riders to fill the gas tank to a quarter of a tank after each ride. Riders do not have to pay for gas out of pocket. Instead, the price of gas is factored into the rate and provided to the rider with a prepaid gas card.
Ride sharing is increasing outside of Trinity as well. The city of San Antonio announced on August 7 that Lyft, national a ride sharing program, will be returning to the city according to the San Antonio Express News. Lyft will be undergoing a nine month pilot program monitored by the city of San Antonio. Uber did not agree to the terms of the pilot program.
Dzung Vu, junior and accounting major, describes how the rise of ride sharing is beneficial for international students.
“Lyft coming to San Antonio is awesome. Ride sharing is a really nice service to have. If you want to have a car, you have to buy one and it’s really expensive,” said Vu. “And considering we’re international students, our insurance is going to be really, really high. So I think ride sharing is much better.”
Tuttle noted that he is optimistic about the success of Zipcar on campus and wants students to have transportation options.
“Students can use Lyft, B-Cycle, Zipcar, or the busline. As long as they have options for things that are convenient for them. I think for our international students and students out of state, or any student that doesn’t have a car here, [Zipcar] is very reasonable,” said Tuttle.