Car sharing partnership takes off at U of Tampa

Going carless in Tampa Bay is easier than ever for students at the University of Tampa. Through a new partnership with leading car sharing network Zipcar, UT community members have 24/7 access to three vehicles: a Ford Focus, a Toyota Corolla and a Nissan Versa Hatchback.

About two-thirds of UT’s full-time students live on campus. UT freshmen are not allowed to bring cars to campus, so the car sharing service provides a necessary alternative for those students, as well as any UT students, faculty and staff ages 18 and older.

Zipcar Florida market manager Smokey West says that the cost savings and sustainability” the car sharing service provides for universities “is the driving force behind the expansion of Zipcar on campuses across the country,” including at UT.

“Students are smart, tech savvy consumers who appreciate Zipcar’s ‘wheels when you want them’ approach,” West says. “They have access to a car when they need it, and freedom from the cost and maintenance of car ownership.”

Previously, UT offered car sharing on campus with Hertz 24/7, but the company discontinued their university programs. In late summer 2015, ZipCar “contacted UT with a similar car sharing program,” explains Tim Harding, UT Associate Dean of Career Development and Engagement.

With campus located within walking and biking distance to downtown Tampa, Harding says that most students tend to use the cars “to run errands that take them outside of the downtown area, for beach outings, shopping at the malls, or short regional road trips.”

The cars, which will have designated on-campus parking spots for easy pick-up and return, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Members can use a mobile app to secure a reservation, lock and unlock doors, and even honk the horn. Reserve a car for as little as an hour, or as long as a week.

UT community members can join Zipcar for $15. Rates for vehicle reservations begin at $7.50 per hour or $69 per day; the cost of gas, insurance and up to 180 miles of driving per day is included. Zipcars can be reserved up to a year in advance online, over the phone, or through the iPhone or Android mobile app.

Zipcar will waive a first year annual membership fee for former members of the Hertz 24/7 service. UT students, faculty and staff can join Zipcar.

With partnerships at more than 400 universities across the United States and Canada, Zipcar also operates in Austria, France, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom; members can use Zipcars in other cities when traveling.

Also in Tampa, the University of South Florida’s Parking & Transportation Services, in conjunction with the Center for Urban Transportation Research at USF, has partnered with Enterprise on two ride and car share programs, Zimride and CarShare at USF.

More information about USF’s Alternative Transportation options can be found here
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Read more articles by Justine Benstead.

Justine Benstead is a feature writer for 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.