Zipping Around Town

Feb. 8, 2013

A new car-sharing network comes to Pacific University, bringing sustainability options along with transportation for students, employees and the community.

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Instead of students milling around lunch tables Thursday in the University Center, a dark blue Toyota Prius took center stage, along with two representatives of Zipcar, considered to be the world’s leading car-sharing network.

The car, which was actually inside the lunchroom, is one of two — the other being a Ford Focus — that Zipcar will rent not only to students, staff and faculty at Pacific University, but to the general Forest Grove population as well.

Groups of students milled around both the car and the bright-green pop-up tent with Zipcar representatives to get information. The car-sharing program will allow members (18 and up) who join to rent the cars for a $25 annual membership fee plus rates starting as low as $8 an hour and $69 per day. Gas, insurance, reserved parking spots and up to 180 miles of driving per day are included in the Zipcar rates.

For the many students without a car, the program fulfills a desire for more transportation alternatives while living in the Grove.

"I think it’s great," said Justin Redona '14, a junior from Hawai'i.  "I want to take advantage of it and go to Portland."

Usually, the Walter Hall resident assistant takes a combination of bus and the Max train to travel to the city.

"It takes kind of long to get there," he said.

Jennifer Koch '13, a senior who also does not own a car, added, "I’m kinda cheap, and I’d use it to go the doctor or something like that."

As of Thursday, some 60 students had already signed up, said Ryan Aiello, director of resident life. He said he is planning to make presentations about the Zipcar share program both to the Nā Haumāna O Hawai'i and to foreign students attending Pacific.

While students signed up, university officials talked about the advantages to sustainability initiatives Pacific is promoting. Hopefully, said John Hayes, director of Pacific’s Center for Sustainable Society, having a car-share program will result in fewer students bringing cars to campus in the future, as well as to ride sharing among participants.

More information on the program is also available at Pacific Zipcars.