Zipcar, a car sharing program that allows people to rent cars by the hour or by the day, was introduced in Isla Vista last Friday, providing a new option for Gauchos without wheels.The Zipcar program requires members pay an annual fee and charges $8 per hour or $66 per day to rent a car. Zipcar pays for the cost of gas and insurance, although there is a 180-mile per day limit and any distance above that costs $.45 per mile.
The cars can be picked up at two new stations in Isla Vista, located at the 6500 block of Pardall Road and at the intersection of Trigo Road and Embarcadero del Mar, as well as at stations on campus that were established in 2007.
John Williams, a spokesman for Zipcar, said the program allows students to save money on transportation.
“According to statistics, 19 percent of the average family budget is spent on transportation, versus five percent of Zipcar users’ budget is spent on transportation,” Williams said. “Why not just pay for a car when you actually use it?”
Jamey Wagner, manager of The Transportation Alternatives Program at UCSB, has been working closely with Zipcar over the past few years to make the program a reality. T.A.P. provides UCSB staff, faculty and students with information about and access to transportation alternatives in Santa Barbara.
Wagner said the car sharing service is an effective means of reducing the number of cars in an area with limited parking.
“There is a lot of pressure on the streets for parking in Isla Vista,” Wagner said. “A Zipcar has the capacity to displace 14-30 cars if people use it.”
According to Wagner, the Zipcar vehicles are used more often than privately owned cars.
“Most people who own a car only use it about one to two hours per day, but the Zipcars are getting used nine hours a day,” he said.
Fourth-year UCSB student James Doran said while the program is good in theory, he doubts its practicality.
“It sounds like a great idea for Isla Vista especially … but if people want to go grocery shopping, they might not rent a car for $8, they would just get a ride with someone,” Doran said.
Those interested in attaining a membership can visit http://zipcar.com/ucsb/.