City College students are now the first residents in Santa Barbara to have access to Zipcars.
“We’re hoping that by offering this, it reduces the need for a student to bring their car to campus,” said Perrin Pellegrin, coordinator for SBCC Commute.
City College officials collaborated with the nationwide company Zipcar in an effort to decrease the parking demand on campus. They also wanted to make it possible for students without their own cars to access a vehicle upon request.
“We partnered with Zipcar because some students have driver’s licenses but need cars only at certain points of the year,” Perrin said. “They don’t need a car all the time, so this allows them an affordable way to have access to a car.”
She added that she wished the program would encourage more students to use sustainable transportation and lower the number of students that drive alone to campus. Survey after survey shows that students and college staff consider the shortage of parking spaces the No. 1 aggravation at City College. Neighborhoods residents have likewise complained to college and city officials about traffic congestion in Mesa neighborhoods near City College.
“We’re getting more cars off the road, and it’s just a really great program,” said Student Trustee Tyler Gibson, who was briefed on the program this week.
The program differs from traditional car rental companies by enabling members to reserve a car throughout the country at any time. Students who join the program pay an annual membership fee of $15 and then an hourly or daily rate to use the cars.
The charge includes insurance, gas and maintenance, and the Zipcar can be reserved from one hour to seven days at a time, up to a year in advance.
“On average, our Zipcar members report a savings of $600 per [month], versus car ownership,” said Katelyn Chesley, public relations specialist for Zipcar.
The car-sharing company has located two cars located in the parking lot of Beach City since the beginning of fall semester, and they are the first Zipcar vehicles in the city of Santa Barbara.
“We’re just super excited to be at SBCC. It’s been awesome,” Chesley said. “[The college] seems to have some really great students that go there.”
She added that the company is always seeking to expand, and they may provide more cars to the area if the program is successful and demand increases. Zipcar has been running in Isla Vista for two years now, but had not expanded beyond the UCSB-bordered community.
The Beach City location was chosen to have the cars available at all times and be close to the college without taking up campus parking spaces.
The program is available to anyone 21 or older with a driver’s license. However, if students register through the City College tab, the age is lowered to 18 and the annual fee of $70 dollars is reduced.
Members have access to any Zipcar and can reserve them through the website, mobile application, or a phone call. The various reservation options make it possible to access the cars for everything from small errands to a weekend trip.
“You can rent it per hour, and make it across town to a study group or a Costco run,” Gibson said. “It’s really just helping out the community, and it’s helping students.”