Zipcar to add two cars to campus in fall

Getting around Champaign-Urbana without your own car does not have to be difficult. With the launch of the Zipcar program in January, students and others can access a car without having to own one themselves.

With the program a few months in, Morgan Johnston, transportation demand management coordinator for the University, has been pleased with the results.

“It has been doing really well,” Johnston said. “We’re really excited about it.”

About 200 people have signed up for the service so far in Champaign-Urbana, she said.

Two cars are located on campus near the intersection of Wright and Daniel Streets. Two more are parked in downtown Champaign, and one is parked in downtown Urbana, Johnston said.

Zipcar has been excited about business in town so far, she said, and plans to add two additional cars on campus in the fall. Two cars may be added in the Research Park area as well.

This fall’s incoming freshman class will be the first to have Zipcars available from the beginning, and Johnston said she is hopeful that they take advantage of the service instead of bringing their own cars.

“We hope they have an impact on Zipcar usage,” she said. “Instead of bringing their own cars and paying University parking fees, which keep going up, they can simply pay the Zipcar membership fee.”

University students 18 and up who have had a drivers license for at least a year are eligible for the service, according to the Zipcar Web site. Annual membership is $35, with each hour of driving costing $8. Cars can also be used for an entire day for $66. Gas is included in these costs, Johnston said.

The cities of Champaign and Urbana, as well as the University and Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District split running the program, she said.

“We’re trying to get people to use alternative forms of transportation. There isn’t space for everyone to bring a car, and Zipcar is perfect for errands like going to the grocery store every once in a while,” Johnston said.

Still, some are still skeptical that the program will keep students from bringing their own car that would have otherwise.

“I don’t think anyone who was going to bring their own car would be swayed by Zipcar,” said Alisa Modica, a recent graduate. “It seems a little inconvenient, since you’d have to walk to actually get the car.”

Others, however, thought they would be useful for quick trips off campus or out of the area.

“It would be good for a quick road trip if you didn’t have a car here,” said Pamela Machala, an area resident. “Otherwise, you can be kind of stuck.”