September 29, 2016

Webster adopts Car Share program for students

By Rebecca Doran

Nick Nonos, does not have a car on campus and has limited options for getting off campus.

Nonos said having access to a car would allow him to see his girlfriend’s field hockey game when she comes to St. Louis, among other things.

“The [rental service] looks like a real good opportunity where I can go out and rent a car for a day, or whatever I need to do,” Nonos said.

Webster University has partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to bring the Car Share program to campus. Nonos, along with other students, learned about the Car Share program at the Involvement and Community Service Fair on Sept. 3. Kat Muraski brought the idea to Webster during the Spring 2014 Delegate’s Agenda.

At the time of her proposal at the Delegates Agenda, Muraski was a student living on campus without a car. Her mother works at Washington University, which has a Car Share program, and that is how Muraski knew about the program. The main reason she wanted a car was to go grocery shopping.

In order to rent the car, students must have a valid driver’s license, or out-of-country license for foreign students. Applicants must also have a clean driving record and be at least 18 years old. Enterprise provides the insurance, maintenance and gas, but students have to pay for any major damage or WWtickets.

Rates for renting the car are available by hour, day or over-night. The regular rates are $12-an-hour for hourly use, $40 for a whole day and $60 for an overnight rental.  In addition to rental fees, there is an application fee of $10 and yearly membership fee of $35.

Amanda Slyman, the Enterprise representative for the university, said Webster administration chose the type of vehicle and rates. The university is renting the car from Enterprise for $1,400 a month and the student rental costs are designed to pay off the monthly balance, Slyman said. If rental fees from students are not enough to cover the $1,400, Webster will pay the difference. 

Jennifer Stewart, the director of Student Engagement, said that the University administration has already given their word to provide more rental vehicles should the need arise. Greg Gunderson, Webster University’s Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said the University will only use environmentally sustainable vehicles for its Car Share program.

Currently, the Car Share program offers a  Toyota Prius hatchback. Slyman said the  Prius can hold four people comfortably, and Webster administration chose the hatchback for more trunk space. The car is equipped with a security system and GPS tracking, so if it is stolen or lost,  it will be easy to locate.

The program is based on trust, although Enterprise is prepared to handle any situation. If a student returns a damaged or otherwise mistreated car, Enterprise can find the name of the student and take the proper measures.

Slyman said Enterprise won’t file a claim for damage they can easily fix, such as a small crack in the windshield or a slight ding in the car’s body. For damage that cannot be fixed, like a broken windshield or a dent that is baseball sized or larger, the student will be charged with a deductible relative to the damage caused.

“We did have some issues at [Washington University] with the damaging of the vehicles, and they had zero deductible,” Slyman said. “So, that’s why going forward we do have to have a deductible in place to protect ourselves.”

The website for the Car Share program has a list of penalties for users who abused the Car Share privileges, like taking the gas card or smoking in the car.

Stewart said Enterprise will perform regular maintenance on a car, but each student should check the car for damages before driving off. If a student notices damage they did not cause, there is a damage sheet in the glove box as well as a number to call to report the damage to Enterprise.

If a student gets into an accident or something happens with the car, Enterprise provides a 24-hour roadside assistance program. Slyman said there will be a sheet of paper with numbers to call. Enterprise has contracts with many roadside assistance businesses so a students can reach someone at any time.

Stewart said she is working with Slyman to get faculty and staff access to the Car Share program, but for now, it’s just for students. They are also working to get access to the downtown car share lot for Webster’s downtown campus.  Memberships are site specific, so Webster students cannot rent cars from Washington University’s campus and vise versa.

Students can expect their membership cards to arrive a week after they sign up. Once a student has their card they can reserve a time.

Enterprise is offering a promotion until Oct. 31st of five dollar hourly rates and only ten dollars to join, along with driving credits. They will also offer driving credits, Driving credits are free money to use toward driving hours. To get this promotion students sign up at enterprisecarshare.com/Webster and enter code “fall2014.”

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