Zipcar Goes to College

Zipcar Goes to College - Zipcar Goes to College By DARREN...

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Zipcar Goes to College By DARREN EVERSON August 22, 2007; Page D1 For generations, carless college students have had to rely on their own feet -- or bikes, buses and friends' clunkers -- to get around. But, now, a new wave of car-sharing companies is giving kids easier access to wheels. Companies such as Zipcar Inc. and Revolution LLC's Flexcar -- which allow customers to rent cars for hours or days -- see a lucrative new market in students, a population that has been largely ignored by traditional rental-car companies such as Hertz Corp. and Avis Budget Group Inc. Indeed, many rental-car companies prohibit those under 21 from renting at most locations. The car-sharing companies, however, are now cutting partnerships with schools nationwide: Flexcar is set to announce deals with Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and this month it added Ohio State University, the nation's largest school by enrollment last year. Zipcar, the world's largest car-sharing company, says it is launching at between 10 and 15 new schools this fall, including Yale University and Carnegie Mellon University, bringing its total to more than 40. Both companies are also lowering their age requirement at many universities to just 18, making cars available to most of the student body. "It's underserved," says Mark Norman, chief executive of Flexcar. The companies also hope to cement students' loyalty while they are in college -- and then keep them as customers after graduation. Universities are adding the programs in the hopes they will help reduce the number of privately owned cars -- and ease the resulting parking crunch -- on campus. Schools are also using the programs to allow them to reduce their own fleets of cars. Some also tout their possible environmental impact, since the car- sharing companies offer hybrids and could theoretically reduce emissions by taking some cars off the road. For Mike Karp, a senior at Columbia University, Zipcar has been ideal for his big grocery store runs -- he prefers buying in bulk at Costco -- and for collecting relatives at the airport. He left his five-year-old Mazda Protégé back home in Palo Alto, Calif. "It just seemed like a great idea in New York because there's no chance I'm going to have a car there, ever," he says. "Ten bucks an hour is not exactly cheap, but it's certainly cheaper
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Zipcar Goes to College - Zipcar Goes to College By DARREN...

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