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Students can now rent cars from Weber State University. Two rental cars will be available at all times for about $5 an hour.
The cars come from U-Haul for free with a program called U Car Share. Each car comes with a gas card, so students do not have to pay for gas, and the cars are serviced weekly by U-Haul. Students also do not need to pay for insurance.
Students can go online to reserve the cars and receive an access code. There is a key pad on the cars where students enter their access codes, and the keys are inside the car.
“Having access to these cars will promote the use of alternative transit to get back or forth to school or, for our on-campus students, it’s a great way to save money,” said Jennifer Bodine, the sustainability coordinator for WSU Facilities Management. ”Why own a car, why pay for insurance and the expense of owning a car, when you may only need to use a car every now and again?”
The Environmental Issues Committee gave out a survey about commuting to find answers about how students get to school. A lot of students responded that they use the FrontRunner or ride their bikes to campus, but they also need to run errands on campus.
There are currently two cars, a Mazda 3, which is parked in the pay lot, and a Prius, which is parked at University Village. Drivers pay $4.95 per hour and 59 cents per mile. There is a cap on how much they have to pay, depending on how many miles they drive per hour. They no longer have to pay once the driver hits $9.25 an hour.
Everyone who signs up for the program must be at least 18 years old and have a good driving record. Bodine said the more students use the cars, the more cars U-Haul will give to WSU.
“It seems interesting if you need to get somewhere,” said Logan Zollinger, a general studies major who typically rides the bus to school.
Once a person is signed up with the program, he or she can reserve a car in any area. Rental cars are available at the University of Utah, Westminster College and around the country.
Ty Bouslaugh, a criminal justice major, drives his own car to WSU, but said he might use the rental cars.
“It’s a good idea; I’d rather put the mileage on someone else’s car,” he said.
The Energy and Sustainability Office, within the WSU Facilities Management Department, started the program. The office works closely with the Environmental Issues Committee and the Environmental Club. Bodine said its primary initiative is the Climate Action Plan, in which the goal is to make the university carbon-neutral by 2050.
“Our largest source of emissions is actually all the students, faculty and staff commuting here,” Bodine said. “That is one issue we are really trying to work on: How do we make alternative transit a lot more convenient for everybody trying to come to this university and try to reduce those emissions?”
Bodine said the program is also thinking about starting a bike-sharing program and possibly having shared permits available for students who carpool.