The Zipcar service, which was introduced last school year, has provided students an inexpensive method of traveling around Rochester at their leisure. The program is a useful amenity for students, but there are several areas where it can be improved.

When students run into issues with the service, either pertaining to maintenance of the car or to problems with their reservations, the only method of support is to call a Zipcar representative. Having a trained student representative working during business hours in an accessible location will offer more support than simply providing instructions on how to start a vehicle over a phone.

It would also be helpful to increase the number of cars available to the community from four. Several of the cars have had sporadic mechanical issues, limiting the number on hand. Increasing the number available will limit the stress of one broken car on the system. Stationing some vehicles near Southside Living Center or the Riverview Apartments may also help promote independent living for students residing in those areas.

If students know that they will have a cheap and accessible mode of transportation, they may be less inclined to pay the costs of bringing their own cars to campus – Zipcar claims that each additional car will free 20 student parking spaces. While it is difficult to say how beneficial it would be, having more cars will likely help to increase parking availability on campus.

The service has already proven its flexibility and has attempted to appease as many members of the community as possible. Seven dollars per hour of driving is cheaper than what it costs at northeastern colleges like Brown University. Also, this past fall, the minimum age of membership was reduced from 19 to 18, which will allow more freshmen to register.

Zipcar has been a welcomed addition to River Campus. The service has provided the community with an affordable alternative to bringing a car to school. If the University can address these issues with the current system and augment the number of cars, student interest in the program can only flourish.

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