After a year of deliberation and Student Association surveys considering the practicality of a rental car service, two rental cars have been made available to Geneseo drivers through Zipcar.
Zipcar is a private company that offers "wheels when you want them" to cities, businesses and universities and has no affiliation with Livingston Area Transportation Services, which runs the shuttle bus system on campus.
Although the company mandates that users must normally be 21 years of age to use Zipcars, they will be available to all students, faculty and staff in the Geneseo community who are licensed drivers over age 18.
Currently, two new Toyota vehicles are available for rent from parking spots in front of Schrader Hall: the eco-conscious Prius and the all-wheel drive Matrix.
Mark Scott, Director of Campus Auxiliary Services, said that CAS is shouldering the initial cost and management of the program, but that it is intended to be self-sustaining within a few years. "I hope the program grows," he said.
Though rental car services are still fairly uncommon in the United States, they have become a popular concept in many European nations. "In the Netherlands, in Holland, no one has a car," said Geneseo international student freshman Marlies Spijker, "so if you need one for a couple of hours, if you are working on a student organization or such, you can use it for a few hours and return it."
"I think it's a good idea for people who don't have cars," said sophomore Becca Maisonet. "I think people will use [Zipcars] when they want to get out of Geneseo, since there's nothing to do here."
Freshman Saskia Talay said she is familiar with a similar service offered in Ithaca, N.Y. Rental costs were "kind of expensive," she said, "but so is owning a car, so I guess it evens out in the end."
Rental rates are $8 per hour, with a cap of $66 per day during the week, and $9 per hour or $72 per day on weekends - plus an annual membership fee of $35. The rental cost includes gas and insurance, with driving restricted to a maximum of 180 miles each 24-hour period.
Not all students were impressed with the service. "I think it's ridiculous," said senior Kian Bichoupan. "It's too expensive for the average college student. I think what this school needs is a cheap taxicab service."
"It is convenient when you need it," said junior Zack Zulauf, "but if you can wait, just take the LATS bus."
"In an emergency, it is useful to have [this service] on hand, but it is not practical for continuous use," said freshman Noah Dukler. "You may as well have your own car."
Students wishing to utilize the service can apply for a Zipcard online at zipcar.com/geneseo.