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Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah! New Wheels on the Way

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Zipcar members who reserve cars in the Smith College fleet will soon have more choices to wheel.

The fleet, which can be accessed by anyone with a membership to North America’s largest car-sharing service, is expected to double by July 23, when the current pair of blue Toyota Matrix Zipcars will be joined by Mazda 3 and Honda Civic models.

“The program at Smith has been incredibly successful and has had great demand,” said Maria Martinez, a spokesperson for Zipcar, adding “the cars are continuously booked on a daily basis.”

The newcomers will be located beside the initial pair of Zipcars in the Smith College Parking Garage on West Street. They will be situated to the right of the main garage entrance and alongside the current vehicles. All of the cars are easily identified by the green Zipcar name painted across the vehicles’ passenger-side doors, as well as signs in the parking spaces.

The addition of two new fuel-efficient models coincides with the second anniversary of the arrival of the car service on campus.

As always, Smith students 18 and older -- along with faculty, staff and local residents 21 and older -- are able to reserve the use of a car by the hour or day. Gas and insurance are included in the hourly rate of $7 and the daily rate of $55.

Although many drivers are now experiencing the impact of escalating fuel costs, Zipcar has no plans to adjust its fee structure based on gas prices. “The company does not frequently have to adjust pricing due to rising fuel costs because gas prices are a small percentage of Zipcar's overall operating costs,” said Martinez.           

Twenty-four hours a day and up to a year in advance, Zipcar members are able to reserve a car online or by telephone. To become a member, an interested person must complete an online application. Once approved by the company, an applicant will receive in the mail a “Zipcard” that provides automated access to unlock and drive any Zipcar.

The company estimates that each Zipcar eliminates the need for more than 20 privately owned vehicles. There are now about 225,000 Zipcar members in cities and towns around the world.


7/17/08   Kristen Cole
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