University of North Carolina (UNC) community members now have a new transportation option when they travel off-campus. On January 7, Zipcar Inc. christened a fleet of brand new Volkswagen Beetles, now available for public use at UNC. UNC transportation officials said the Zipcars were brought to campus in an attempt to improve the flow of traffic. "We thought there was a need for people who have to run errands ... to have access to a car on campus," said Debby Freed, UNC transportation demand management coordinator. Freed said department heads, faculty, and students have expressed interest in the program. Nine people at UNC already had registered with Zipcar before the program's launch. Freed said the Beetles were selected from other makes of Zipcar vehicles for their asthetic appeal. If the program is successful, UNC might add a variety of Zipcars, such as trucks, minivans, and a range of mid-sized and compact cars, said Larry Slotnick, Zipcar fleet manager. The cars are available to members of the University community, as long as the renter is a registered member with Zipcar, is at least 21 years old and meets a safe driving criteria. The $20 annual membership fee is transferred into driving credit if used within 30 days of payment. Usage rates for the UNC community are $5 per hour, which includes 125 free miles per reservation. Cars can be rented only for 16 hours per day. Zipcar requires no insurance premium from members. Liability is covered by the corporation's insurance provider. Members reserve a car online, walk to the closest available Zipcar location, unlock the car with their Zipcard, and drive away. UNC campus members also have access to other Zipcars in different cities, which feature typical hourly rates of $8-$10.50, depending on make and location. Zipcar is a self-service car company founded in 1999, with operations in the New York City metro area, Boston, and Washington, D.C. The company boasts more than 10,000 members and 250 cars.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials