Car share program looks to free need for car on campus

Christian Marnon

For some students, keeping a car on campus can be a financial sinkhole. Rising gas prices, insurance payments and even parking permits can quickly put a dent in a student’s wallet.

To counter this obstacle, WKU has partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to introduce a CarShare program, which intends to conserve not only students’ money, but the environment as well.

Available on more than 70 college campuses, Enterprise CarShare is reminiscent of carpooling, only it effectively blends the features of a car rental service. For an hourly, daily, or overnight rate, WKU faculty and students over the age of 18 now have the option to rent a Toyota Corolla provided by Enterprise.

Enterprise CarShare is a membership-based service which charges $8 per hour during weekdays, $9 per hour for weekends, $56 daily and $35 for overnight rentals.

Those interested in the program must fill out a membership application, which requires a valid driver’s license and a Mastercard/Visa credit or debit card in the name of the student, faculty or staff member who plans to rent one of the available cars.

International driver’s licenses are also accepted.

Caroline Young, Assistant Manager of the US 31W Bypass Enterprise location, said two Toyotas are currently available for rental in Barnes lot on WKU’s main campus.

“In Bowling Green we have a tremendous opportunity to keep these two on the road,” she said. “It’s hard to get everybody on the same page, but there’s great potential at this university.”

According to the CarSharing Association, the service is defined by its “environmental and social purpose” and has intentions of “decreasing personal car ownership, reducing vehicle distance travelled, improving urban land use and development, providing affordable access for all constituencies, as well as motivating residents to walk, cycle and take buses and trains, and decreasing dependence on fossil fuels while reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.”

Reduced parking demand is another benefit of the new CarSharing program Jennifer Tougas, WKU’s director of Parking and Transportation, said.

“Parking lots end up being storage facilities on campus,” said Tougas. “People can now share one car instead of owning a car and this can reduce parking demand by up to 16 vehicles.”

The Enterprise CarShare service is also a viable financial alternative, Tougas said.

“About 30 percent of residents do not bring a car to campus, so there’s already a group who can benefit,” she said. “If you’re not using your car on a regular basis, the advantage to the student is it can save them money on car insurance, fuel and parking permits.”

CarSharing, though a relatively new idea has potential for significant success, Young said.

“With CarSharing we’re still learning as we go, but there are quite a few locations globally and across the U.S using our program or something similar,” she said. “We’re always bringing new ideas to Western, and we’re always looking for ways to make it better.”