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Zippies at the U
From M, spring 2006
Wendy Looman walks or rides the bus to work, but when the University assistant professor of nursing needs to make off-campus trips, she has to drive. On those days, says Loomis, "it is expensive to drive [my car] here just to park it until I need it." That's one reason she became a Zippie.
Zippies, or Zipcar members, pay an annual fee ($30 for University students, staff, and faculty, and the application fee waived; $50 and a $25 application fee for other users) for the use of wheels by the hour ($8) or day ($60). Insurance, gas, mileage, and satellite radio are included. Membership also allows access to Zipcars in Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, and San Francisco.
According to the Boston-based Zipcar, Inc., more than 30 percent of its customers have either sold their car or reconsidered buying one. "I am hoping to... see whether I could get rid of my own car altogether," says Looman, one of 65 University Zippies so far. "This [program] forces people to consider whether they really need to drive somewhere and whether it would be reasonable to take the bus, ride a bike, or walk around town instead of driving. We don't need as many cars as we have in the Twin Cities." The University has two Zipcars each on the West Bank, East Bank, and in St. Paul.