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New cars give students a little ‘Zip’

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Published 2009-09-30T00:00:00Z”/>


Francesca Nesfield

Green and white tents covered the Student Services Center plaza, Tuesday as musicians rocked hard on stage and students checked out the Honda Insight and Scion XB parked at the plaza.

<a href=””>Zipcar</a> launched its newest collection of five cars available for most drivers at the Zipcar launch event.

The cars are part of a new service at Chico State that promotes sustainable driving by prompting students to use a car only when needed.

Once registered with Zipcar, students will receive a microchip card within three to five business days and can then make reservations by telephone to use the cars.

The service isn’t limited to Chico State students and faculty. Community members also have access to these vehicles. However, there are limitations for some drivers.

“If you’re 18 to 21 you can only rent the cars here on campus,” said Halli Bovia, Chico State’s sustainability coordinator for the Institute for Sustainable Development. “If you’re 21 or over, you can use Zipcar in any city.”

The Institute for Sustainable Development suggested the idea of Zipcars for multiple reasons, one being the loss of residence hall parking lot A, Bovia said.

Less than 20 percent of students in university housing have a parking space available for them, she said.

“It was good timing to bring up a solution.” Bovia said.

A lot of marketing was done during the summer orientation program to discourage new students from bringing their vehicles, she said.

The cars are placed in university parking lots. Three cars are near the health center parking lot and two cars are in parking lot G at West Second and Hazel streets. They are available at any time of the day and can be used for as little as an hour or as much as four days.

“The reality is people need the cars at different times,” said Tricia Capello, university marketing manager for Zipcar.

The cost is $8 an hour and $66 a day during the week. It raises to $9 an hour and $72 a day on the weekends, Capello said.

There is an annual fee of $35 with a one-time driving record check. Gas and car insurance is included with the service with the option of upgrading your insurance coverage for $75. Drivers between the ages 18 to 20 are insured at the state minimum, Capello said.

“Once you’re 21 you can purchase riders on top of that,” she said.

As the use of the program increases, more vehicles will be added to the Chico fleet of cars, Capello said.

“We consistently monitor the consistent utilization of the vehicles,” she said. “And we add cars as warranted by the utilization, so we always want to make sure cars are available when people need them.”

To make space for the Zipcars, the University Police played a key role in finding available parking spaces, Bovia said.

“The university didn’t lose any parking spaces,” she said. “They were handled through the delicate balance of the UPD figuring out how to allocate them.”

The goal of Zipcar is to help reduce congestion in the Chico area and provide a sustainable transportation option to students, Capello said.

The reaction to the new launch appears to be positive, Bovia said.

The program started 10 years ago in Massachusetts and is now at 120 universities nationwide and is also international, according to

“This is a very powerful program that’s taking off very rapidly,” said Matt Malloy, vice president of Global University Operations at Zipcar.

Francesca Nesfield can be reached at<a href= “javascript:void(location.href=’mailto:’+String.fromCharCode(102,110,101,115,102,105,101,108,100,64,116,104,101,111,114,105,111,110,46,99,111,109)+’?subject=re%3A%20New%20cars%20give%20students%20a%20little%20’Zip”)”>[email protected]</a>

For more information, visit:

<a href= “”> Zipcar Fact Sheet</a>

<a href= “”>Campus Zipcar information site</a>

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      New cars give students a little ‘Zip’