UCSC partners with Zipcar to bring car sharing to Santa Cruz

Two of the seven Zipcars--this Toyota Matrix and the Honda Element behind it--are available at the upper College 8 parking lot. Photo by Tim Stephens

The University of California, Santa Cruz, and Zipcar, North America's largest on-campus car-sharing service, have formed a joint partnership to provide Zipcars to campus faculty, staff, and students, as well as community residents, as an environmentally friendly alternative to the costs and hassles of keeping a car on campus. The partnership continues UCSC's commitment to provide sustainable transportation options that decrease the parking demand on campus and reduce traffic impacts on the community, and grows Zipcar's on-campus programs to more than 50 university partners.

Beginning today, seven self-service Zipcars--three Toyota Prius Hybrids, two Honda Elements, a Mazda 3 and a Toyota Matrix--will be available for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cars will be located on the main campus at the OPERS parking lot by the East Field House and at the upper College 8 parking lot, as well as off campus at UCSC's 2300 Delaware Avenue site and downtown to serve the University Town Center at Cathcart and Cedar Streets.

"This partnership with Zipcar enables us to offer car sharing conveniently on campus to all of our students at low rates. It is a natural fit with both our environmental initiatives and our desire to decrease parking demand and traffic impacts," said Larry Pageler, director of UCSC's Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS). "The program complements UCSC's existing alternative transportation program and will allow our students the mobility they need to travel off campus for shopping, errands, and recreation without the need to bring their personal cars to the area. Car sharing also gives TAPS the opportunity to introduce the Santa Cruz community to another viable, sustainable transportation program."

Studies by Zipcar have shown that their car-sharing programs have many "green" benefits to campuses and local communities. Each Zipcar typically replaces up to 20 personally owned vehicles, reducing the need for additional parking spaces and replacing older vehicles with new ones that have more stringent pollution controls. Zipcar members tend to drive significantly less, resulting in less congestion and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Members tend to use a variety of alternative modes and use Zipcar only when they need to.

Car sharing is a natural complement to the variety of sustainable transportation programs already provided by UC Santa Cruz. According to Pageler, almost 60 percent of all trips to campus are made in modes other than a single-occupant vehicle. More than 10,000 trips are made to campus via its extensive transit program each day. In addition, approximately 220 campus affiliates travel to and from campus in the 20 vanpools coming from San Jose, Monterey, Aptos and other locations. Many students, staff, and faculty have formed both formal and informal carpools, while many more walk or ride their bikes to campus. These efforts have enabled the campus to reduce its vehicle trips through the campus entrances by more than 10 percent, matching 1999-2000 levels, even though student enrollment has increased by 37 percent during the same time period.

The Zipcar car sharing program will help these other programs continue to grow. By offering access to a vehicle on the occasions when one is needed, car sharing encourages people to adopt alternative modes of transportation, rather than bringing their own car to campus.

Membership in the Zipcar program is available for $35 to all UCSC students 18 years of age and older and all UCSC staff and faculty. Membership provides access to UCSC Zipcars for rates starting at $8 per hour or $65 per day. For a limited time, UCSC affiliate members will receive $35 in driving credit as an incentive when they register for the program. The low hourly and daily rates include gas, maintenance, insurance and reserved parking. Community residents 21 years of age and older are also eligible to join and use Zipcar vehicles; different membership rates apply. All members 21 and older will also gain access to Zipcar's network of more than 3,500 vehicles throughout North America and the United Kingdom. Interested UCSC students, faculty, staff, and community members can apply to join Zipcar at www.zipcar.com/ucsc.

For residential freshman and sophomore students, who are not allowed to purchase a parking permit on campus, and for any student who does not want to bring a privately owned car to school, Zipcar provides the freedom to travel off campus to shop locally, run errands or take a weekend trip. Zipcar also eliminates hundreds of dollars in monthly transportation costs, saving members an average of $436 per month or $5,232 per year when compared with car ownership--money that can be put toward other more relevant expenses such as tuition and housing.

Zipcar was selected as UCSC's car-sharing partner based on its ability to customize the car-sharing program to meet the needs of UCSC students and a proven track record of providing universities with a cost-effective and environmentally friendly transportation solution. UCSC now joins the dozens of colleges that have partnered with Zipcar to reduce traffic, noise and parking demands, including San Francisco State University, MIT, Columbia, Georgetown, Rutgers, American University, Harvard University, University of Minnesota, University of Toronto, University of North Carolina and University of Chicago.

The City of Santa Cruz is cooperating with UCSC by providing parking spaces in a city lot near the University Town Center at Cathcart and Cedar Streets so the program can be launched off campus as well. Expansion of the program to more locations and more vehicles will be determined based on demand.

For more information or to join, interested individuals should go to www.zipcar.com/ucsc.

About Zipcar

Zipcar is the world's largest and fastest growing car sharing service, with more than 120,000 members and 3,500 vehicles in major metropolitan areas and colleges campuses, including San Francisco, Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Vancouver, Toronto and London, England. As a leading urban lifestyle brand, Zipcar provides a convenient and cost-effective transportation alternative for individuals, businesses and universities in more than 35 cities throughout North America and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.zipcar.com.