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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Union Senator works to bring Zipcars to campus

Published: November 16, 2007
Section: News

Class of 2008 Senator Asher Tanenbaum has begun efforts to bring Zipcar, the car sharing progam, to Brandeis. In order to gauge student interest, Tanenbaum will conduct a survey within the next few weeks.

We will go from there and if it is a very positive response it will go a long way towards implementing Zipcar at Brandeis, Tanenbaum wrote in an email.

We will have an update on its status once we have the results of the survey, he added.

Zipcar would allow students to rent a car for a few hours or an entire day for an hourly rate. Though the use of a Zipcar requires a valid drivers license, insurance and gas are covered by Zipcar through membership fees. While the program would be run through the university, students would have to create their own individual accounts with Zipcar.

Vice President of Campus Operations Mark Collins explained that a Zipcar proposal was brought to him a few years ago but was decided against because Zipcar members must be at least 21.

Because Zipcar recently lowered the driving age to 18 for students on [college] campuses, said Tanenbaum, the Zipcar proposal is being revisited. Other New England universities such as Wellesley College and Tufts University feature Zipcar programs.

While Collins called Zipcar a good thing to be able to offer from an environmental point of view, he had financial concerns. He commented, [Zipcar] is an investment [for] the universityI cant absorb an expensemy goal would be to have a program that would generate enough revenue to support it.

While the Zipcars themselves would be housed at Brandeis, Zipcar would be in charge of most practical and logistical consideration. Collins also mentioned the possibility of the cars being housed in the gas station near the commuter rail.

He commented, I just want to be careful that I dont add material work to an already-stressed staff.

Collins explained that if Zipcar is implemented, wed start conservatively with two cars.

He added that if there is greater demand, more cars can be bought.

The success of Zipcar in many other organizations makes me feel confident that we can make something work, said Collins.

Student response has been mixed. Lilah Rogoff 10 commented, I wouldnt have bought a car if wed had Zipcar.

It seems like a good idea but I dont feel like students would use it that much, Rachie Lewis 09 said.

I dont think its a bad idea, said Leah Boudreau 09, for kids that dont have carsits a good option but Brandeis does offer a lot of transportation. She added, I dont know how much we need it. If you yourself dont have a car you probably know someone with a car.