A new addition to campus: Zipcars

Photo by Taylor CoxButler University officials are hoping two new vehicles on campus will ease students’ need to park in one of their 3,222 coveted spaces.

The university signed a contract with Zipcar, Inc., a car-sharing program that markets itself as an alternative to car ownership, and this fall the Butler community will have the option to pay for use of a Toyota Prius and a Mazda3 to get around the city.

The Butler Collegian requested the number of people who already have registered with Zipcar, but Butler Police Chief Hunter said the university’s contract with Zipcar doesn’t allow for the figure to be released.

“We can say that we’re very surprised at the number of folks that have signed up,” Hunter said. “It’s more than I anticipated.”

Hunter said he’s heard more interest from faculty and staff than he has from students.

“At the freshmen thing, I asked how many people had signed up and I think I saw three hands, but I’ve actually talked to faculty and staff who live in the neighborhood who think they might sign up,” he said.

Zipcar has not yet to pull out of a university setting because of low participation, he said.

The motivation behind the contract was to convince students they don’t need a car on campus, a university news release said.

“We’re hoping by having the Zipcars that that’s going to alleviate issues like the parking imbalance and commuter issues,” said Marvin Recht, parking committee member and College of Business executive-in-residence.

The parking committee discussed a possible partnership with the company last year, but held off because of Zipcar’s requirement that $3,000 per month in revenue be generated from the program. When Zipcar decided to waive the requirement, the deal was finalized.

Faculty, staff and students aren’t the only ones who will be allowed to use the cars—community members also will be able to take them out for a spin.

Members of the Butler community will be able to purchase an annual pass for $35 but still will have to pay at least $8 per hour to use the service. Gas and roadside assistance are included in the hourly fee.