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Zipcar finds a parking space at Charles River Campus

Agreement gives discount to BU community

Zipcar may make grocery runs easier for some students. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

Watching cars buzz down Commonwealth Avenue while waiting for the Green Line can be an aggravating tease. But now that Boston University has forged an agreement with the car-sharing company Zipcar, it will be a little easier for students without wheels to get behind the wheel.

The company is launching its service with two cars, a Scion xB and a Toyota Prius. The vehicles are located in the Granby parking lot at the corner of Granby Street and Commonwealth Avenue.  Zipcar’s agreement with Boston University will allow members of the University community to purchase an annual membership for $25 rather than the usual $50. Hourly rental rates start at $8.75 and include gas and insurance. Zipcar, unlike other car rental agencies that require customers to be 25 years old, rents to people 21 and older with clean driving records.

“Students are a great market for Zipcar,” says 22-year-old Tess Mattern (CFA’06). “It’s one of the only options we have to reach places that aren’t T-accessible. It’s nice to have access to a car without having to deal with everything that goes along with owning one and having it on campus.”

Students such as Mattern are one reason that BU decided to provide campus parking spaces for Zipcars. Thomas Fawcett, director of operations for the Office of Auxiliary Services, which worked out the agreement with Zipcar, says the cars “fill a gap in service when public transportation doesn’t fit the bill.”

“There are many instances when either the location you’re going to is not accessible by T or you’re doing grocery shopping or purchasing something large or cumbersome and having a car would really help,” says Fawcett.

Peter Cusato, vice president for auxiliary business affairs, says he has already received many e-mails from students thanking BU for having Zipcars on campus.

“It’s a concept that has really caught on,” says Cusato, who notes that the BU Medical Campus has had two Zipcars on its premises since 2005. “It’s a great convenience for all urban dwellers, but especially for students.” 

Cars can be reserved online up to a year in advance, are available 24 hours a day, and are generally used by people needing the cars for only a short time. To learn more about Zipcar or to apply for membership, visit the company’s Web site.