Car-sharing service Flexcar, already setting usage records with this year's gas prices, has decided to target an unusual market in the car-rental business: 18-20 year-old college students. Yesterday, the company announced it is piloting its "Flexcar for Undergrads" program at six US universities. The company hopes to expand on the growing popularity of car-sharing on campus among faculty, staff and older students:
Personal transportation has long been a challenge for undergraduates. Campus parking for privately owned cars is usually very limited, and rental car companies traditionally only rent to people 25 and older. Even car-sharing, which has been rapidly expanding on college campuses, has been restricted to those 21 and older. But Flexcar's pilot program will change all that, and in the process create a whole new level of mobility, flexibility and environmental stewardship on campuses. ...The company will try the program out at University of Portland (Ore.), University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-San Diego, University of California-Berkeley, University of Maryland and Emory University (Atlanta). As they evaluate the success of the program, they'll also focus on the major challenge associated with this age group: its high rate of accidents and the high insurance rates that come with that distinction. Students themselves will likely be happy with the costs of the program and the reserved parking spaces that come with the cars -- we wonder what excuse they'll use for being late to class since "I couldn't find a parking spot" has become a little less credible. ::Flexcar for Undergrads
Flexcar is already a leading provider of car-sharing services to faculty and staff at colleges and universities across the United States. Many campuses offer Flexcar as a commuting enhancement service to encourage faculty and staff to leave their cars at home, using Flexcar for personal errands during the day. ...
"We originally brought Flexcar on campus to help us reduce the number of cars on campus while at the same time give our faculty, staff and older students a convenient transportation option," said David Allen, director of transportation services at the University of Maryland. "Now, with more people eligible to use the program, we expect the impact to be even more significant."