BOISE, Idaho — On a campus where students outnumber parking spaces nearly three to one, Boise State University has finally convinced 23-year-old Wayel Alwayel he no longer needs the car he brought to campus with him as a freshman.
The new hybrid car parked near the student union building this fall, available for $8 an hour, sealed the deal. Behind the wheel of the rental, Alwayel realized just how tired he was of paying for his own gas, paying for his own insurance.
“It’s cheaper,” he said. “You don’t have to pay the gas, you don’t have to have insurance, which is really cool.”
Colleges and universities hoping to steer students and faculty away from bringing their vehicles to campus to help relieve parking congestion and promote environmentally friendly transportation are increasingly turning to the concept of car sharing.
Boise State is among more than 30 universities and colleges that have introduced Zipcars to students this fall.
The University of Colorado at Boulder works with a local nonprofit, eGO CarShare, to offer a car-sharing service to students and faculty, according to its website. West Virginia University launched an hourly car-rental program last year and has since teamed up with Zipcar Inc. to expand the service.
While major metropolitan cities have long offered car-sharing services, the idea is relatively new to more rural states such as Idaho, said Casey Jones, director of transportation and parking at Boise State.
The school’s new car sharing service is Idaho’s first, said Jones, who also sits on the International Parking Institute’s board of directors.
The car-sharing service primarily targets students who live on campus, but Jones hopes the idea will spread.
“There’s a secondary group and that is people like me,” he said. “I ride my bike to work, but there are going to be occasions where I need to go to the dentist or I need to run an errand and I need a car for that. Car sharing is a perfect solution for that kind of thing.”