Zipping Around Duke

April 1, 2009
Something old, something new: Prius Zipcar in chapel's shadow

Something old, something new: Prius Zipcar in chapel's shadow. Bryan Rothow.

Duke community members have a new way to drive green. In January, Zipcar, a national car-sharing program, arrived on campus, offering students and faculty and staff members the ability to be mobile without owning a car.

Four vehicles—two hybrid Priuses and two Toyota Matrixes—are available for rent by all employees and students who are eighteen or older and meet eligibility requirements.

The cars are parked in specially marked spaces by the West Campus bus stop on Chapel Drive and also at the surface lot by the Bryan Center parking garage.

To join Zipcar, participants pay a $35 registration fee that is applied as a credit toward reservations in the first month. The cost to reserve a car is $8 an hour or $66 a day. Fuel, maintenance, and insurance are included. Reservations are accepted for a one-hour minimum, up to a maximum of four days.

The effort to bring Zipcar to campus gained speed last year when members of Duke Student Government and the Duke Environmental Alliance approached Zipcar and Kemel W. Dawkins, vice president for campus services. Student leaders and administrators believe the program will help ease parking strains and also offer students who don't have a car an environmentally friendly and affordable driving option.

Once the registration fee is paid and the account established, Duke community members need only to wave their membership cards over a card reader on the window to unlock the car.  The card is connected to the driver's bank account, and all charges are settled electronically.

Duke joins more than 120 other colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada that have signed up for the car-sharing program since its inception in 1999.