Car sharing company Zipcar provides service on campus

By Aarushi Aggrwal, Staff Writer

Zipcar is a car-sharing company owned by car-rental agency Avis. The University has partnered with the cities of Champaign and Urbana, as well as the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District to bring self-service, on-demand car sharing to campus.

There are 10 Zipcars located in the Champaign-Urbana area. Once signed up with a Zipcar membership, students need to place a reservation, unlock the car with a special card distributed by Zipcar, find the key in the vehicle and hit the road. 

Shannon Hurd, freshman in Engineering, was introduced to the Zipcar by her boyfriend. She first drove a Zipcar in September 2022 and said she has had a good experience so far.

“I think Zipcars are very convenient, if you’re willing to pay the price,” Hurd said. “It’s a good option to have. But people would need to weigh the pros and cons of it before buying it. Maybe a group of friends could buy a membership together.”

Shreenija Daggavolu, freshman in Engineering, said that when she learned about Zipcar, she thought that such a service could be useful for students who live far away and don’t have cars on campus.

“I’m not sure I know about a lot of car rental services,” Daggavolu said. “I know Rent-a-Car, but I don’t know if students can rent it. I live close by, so it’s not a problem for me, but I think that Zipcar might be a good option for out-of-state students who would probably need to use a car sometime.”

The legal age to rent a car in Illinois is 21. However, Zipcars can be rented by anyone who is 18 or older and has a driving license. Membership costs $9/month or $90/year, but due to the University’s partnership with Zipcar, faculty, staff and students can become members for $35/year.

Members can access Zipcars 24/7 with an app available for Android and iPhone, or on Zipcar’s website. They can then rent cars on an hourly or daily basis. If a member exceeds 180 miles in a day, they must pay extra for every additional mile.

Sanji Lee, freshman in Engineering, is an international student. He heard about Zipcar from a friend who used it.

“I could see myself using it, but I don’t have a license,” Lee said. “I have a positive feeling about Zipcar, and I know I could use it in the future. If I can’t get a car and it’s not too much of a hassle, I’d pay for Zipcar’s membership.”

When asked about insurance, Lee said that he was unaware of the insurance policies for any car sharing service, let alone Zipcar. Different states may have slightly different terms of insurance, but for the most part, Zipcar provides insurance.

Gas and insurance are included in the price of the membership. For members under the age of 21, Zipcar provides insurance at state-mandated levels. For members who are older, insurance covers bodily injury and property damage.

 

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