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World's leading car-sharing service zips onto RIC campus

On Jan 27, RIC President Nancy Carriuolo drove the very first Zipcar on campus at the launch of RIC’s new partnership with Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network. Students and others can now sign up to drive the Zipcars themselves, allowing for more opportunity to travel off campus.

This convenient transportation option is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to students, faculty, and staff 18 and older, and to members of the local community ages 21 and over.


RIC President Nancy Carriuolo takes the first ride in a Zipcar on the RIC campus.
RIC members can join for $25, with rates on campus Zipcars starting as low as $7 an hour and $66 a day. Gas, insurance, reserved parking spots, up to 180 miles of driving per day and roadside assistance are included in the Zipcar rates. Cars can be reserved for as little as an hour or for multiple days.

To join, visit www.zipcar.com/ric.

Carriuolo said she had heard of the Zipcars about a year ago, and had seen them being driven in Providence. Believing that they are great for the economy and ecology, she spoke to Bill Gearhart, vice president for administration and finance, about bringing Zipcars to RIC. Gearhart later got in contact with Zipcar and helped bring them to campus.

He said he hopes the Zipcars will provide a quality service to students who do not have vehicles and for those that do to use as an alternative.

Scott Kane, dean of students at RIC, believes students will benefit greatly from RIC’s participation in Zipcar. “It’s another green initiative by the college to address student transportation needs while reducing harmful emissions and traffic congestion,” Kane said.


A RIC student signs on to become a Zipcar member.
The Zipcars could not have come to campus at a better time for the first RIC student to sign up, Tonju Tiemu. Tiemu’s car had just broken down the week before and he found the Zipcars to be a great substitute for public transportation because he won’t have to wait for a taxi or bus to arrive.

Tiemu was not the only student enthusiastic about the launch. RIC junior Jamilah Pittman said she liked the idea because the Zipcars are “an alternative to public transportation that gives independence.”

With the Zipcars being available 24/7 students can go by their own agendas rather than plan their days around public transportation.

“The impact on campus will depend on how popular the cars are with staff and students. I am very enthusiastic and hope students that would normally drive to campus will take the bus, then use the Zipcars to take trips off campus,” said Carriuolo.

To start, RIC will offer two vehicles – a Ford Focus hatchback and Ford Focus sedan – that will be located in Lot K near the Student Union. Zipcars are self-service and can be reserved and accessed 24 hours a day.


Click photo above for video of the RIC Zipcar event.
Students will not be limited to the two cars here on campus. These Zipcars are just two of 37 available throughout Providence, which are accessible to any member. Even if a Zipcar member is no longer in Providence he or she will have access to a car from any of the participating cities.

Members with smartphones, including iPhones and Android devices, may download the Zipcar mobile applications to make reservations, lock and unlock the vehicles, and even honk the horn to help locate the vehicle.

Members can also use Zipcar’s “Reserve a Zipcar” app on Facebook to view available Zipcars and make, extend or cancel a reservation from their Facebook account. Reservations can also be made over the phone or by using the Zipcar website.

“Zipcar’s service and technology have been a perfect match for many universities across North America looking to provide their campus communities with alternatives to bringing a car to campus,” said Michael Serafino, general manager, Zipcar University. “And since every Zipcar takes approximately 15 privately owned vehicles off the road, Zipcar helps reduce congestion and demand for parking on campus.” “In addition to providing a convenient and cost-efficient transportation option, Zipcar will also help Rhode Island College to reduce its carbon footprint.”

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