Zipcar, a membership-based car-rental service, increased the number of cars offered on campus in response to growing Foggy Bottom demand.
The company offers 20 cars on or near campus ranging from pickup trucks to MINI Coopers for the 1,000 students and staff members who subscribed to Zipcar this year. In 2003, the University partnered with the rental company to offer the community discounted membership and user fees.
“GW believes that it is important to support this program that provides convenient, cost-effective options to share vehicles and reduce the number of cars on the road, which is positive for the environment as well as the community,” said Nancy Haaga, director of Campus Support Services.
Every year since the partnership began, the University has sent an e-mail to the GW community about Zipcar, Haaga said. She added that Zipcar was chosen over its competitor, Flexcar, because it offered discounted membership and user fees.
D.C. and Metro have partnered with both Zipcar and Flexcar to convert metered parking spaces to rental spaces in select locations.
Although the cars replace normal parking spaces on road shoulders, the service increases parking in the city, according to the D.C. Department of Transportation Web site.
“Think about the bus stops in your neighborhood. Cars aren’t allowed to park there,” the Web site states. “But because they make it possible for so many people to use transit and avoid car ownership, bus stops (and the bus service that goes with them) actually free up more parking spaces than they consume.”
Annual membership to Zipcar costs $75, but GW students pay a discounted $25 fee due to GW’s partnership, said Gabe Klein, regional vice-president for Zipcar. The rental costs $7.75 per hour or $65 per day for a car with gas and insurance.
“We have a great partnership with GW,” Klein said. “Due to this special relationship, we have been able to locate cars in convenient places all over the GW campus.”
Klein said there were only three cars on campus when Zipcar began service at GW, but now there are 20.
“GW is focused on improving the quality of life for its students and wanted to provide the best transportation options possible,” Klein said.
GW was the first D.C. University to use Zipcar and has been the most successful college campus in the area for the company, Klein said. Zipcar also has locations at Georgetown, Howard, American, Catholic and George Mason Universities.
Klein said GW’s partnership benefits neighborhood residents, who use the cars. “GW really cares about the quality of life in Foggy Bottom … (and) has been instrumental in providing this option.”
Junior Jacqueline Chenault said she uses Zipcar to buy groceries and to attend gymnastics in Arlington, Va..
“There’s a Zipcar right across the street from New Hall, so it’s really convenient,” she said. “I use it several times a week.”