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Salem State to offer Zipcar options for students, staff

Posted by Bella Travaglini  July 28, 2010 09:45 AM

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Salem State College students and staff this fall will be offered a commuting alternative.

The car-sharing service, Zipcar, will begin operations on campus by the second week in August starting with two vehicles, said Dan Curtin, general manager for Zipcar Boston. One will be a hybrid vehicle; the other most likely a front-wheel-drive SUV ideal for hauling larger items, he added.

Salem State students will receive a discounted annual membership rate of $25, which is half the regular rate, and the company is waiving the $25 application fee. Members can reserve a vehicle online or by telephone, said Curtin. Hourly rates are as low as $7, which includes insurance, parking, maintenance and gas for the first 180 miles, he said.

The two use-as-you-go vehicles at the college are in addition to the six Zipcars that were recently added downtown, said Curtin. With 10,000 undergrad, graduate and continuing ed students attending the school, Zipcar will monitor usage and add more vehicles if necessary, said Curtin.

“Being able to increase travel offerings for our students so they can see all of what the area and New England has to offer is a wonderful benefit,” said Corey Cronin, spokesman for the college.

The Zipcars will be parked on the main campus on Loring Avenue. While the idea of having the cars on campus is for the benefit of students, faculty and staff, the cars will be available to all Zipcar members.

Zipcar has been in business for 10 years originating in Cambridge starting with six lime-green Volkswagon Beetles, said Curtin. Since, the company has expanded with 400,000 members and 7,000 cars throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Zipcar operates on 150 college campuses including Endicott College in Beverly, Brandies University in Waltham and Wellesley College, said Cronin.

“Salem is an interesting community for us,” said Cronin. “We hope that we’re raising awareness for folks so that get used to life without a car and realize there are alternatives like walking, biking, public transportation and Zipcar. Having more car sharers than car owners is what we’d like to see the world become.”

The college will be mailing additional information on Zipcar membership to students before the fall, said Cronin.

Also beginning this fall, Salem State College will extend shuttle bus service hours adding two buses for the new service, said Cronin.

The new shuttle service will run from 7:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. seven days a week within the city. One vehicle is a 12-person van and the other a handicap accessible van. Students will receive a special phone number to call for the service for safe transport to and from campus, said Cronin.

Regular shuttle service will continue at the school’s five campuses which runs from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

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