The University of Portland is one of six colleges and universities nationwide participating in a pilot program using Flexcar, a car-sharing company designed to reduce the number of vehicles on the road and save energy in the region.
Car-sharing is a rapidly expanding industry that provides individuals and organizations with automated, self-service, 24-hour access to a fleet of cars, trucks and vans, according to Jeff Rook, environmental health and safety officer for the university. Flexcar is the nation's leading car-sharing service, with more than 500 businesses and 30,000 individual members in eight metropolitan areas.
Flexcar recently launched a new program — Flexcar for Undergrads – that enables 18- to 20-year-olds at the university to use Flexcar in a pilot program. Flexcar has two vehicles on campus for student use whenever they are needed. Students must reserve the cars, which have their own designated parking spaces on campus. Another Flexcar will be available for staff, students and professors as a shuttle between the campus and the Interstate MAX line.
Other schools participating in the pilot Flexcar program include the University of California's Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego campuses; Emory College in Atlanta, Ga.; and the University of Maryland.
Those who bike, walk, take TriMet or carpool to the university will be able to leave their cars at home and have access to the Flexcar vehicles on campus. Students can reserve a car online or by phone — and then can drive to the movies, to run errands, or just to get away from campus. They are charged an hourly rate that covers gas, insurance and unlimited miles.
To participate, University of Portland students must have two years of driving experience with no tickets or at-fault accidents. They must provide a $250 deposit, refundable at age 21 or when the Flexcar membership ends, whichever comes first. They also must show proof of insurance and obtain a signature from their parent or guardian that acknowledges their participation in the Flexcar program.
Students interested in joining can download and complete the undergrad membership application and agreement form from www.flexcar.com/undergrad.