Sharing is caring

I donÕt have to remind anyone that living on campus is expensive: thereÕs the initial housing cost, the meal plan, and if youÕre lucky enough, thereÕs the cost of parking your car. Cars that may sit day and night in parking lots, all the while costing their owners approximately $350 a year.

But now thereÕs hope for those who think this price is exorbitant, or who donÕt have a car of their own. CarShare Vermont gives students an easy and affordable transportation alternative.

Back in 2008, founder and executive director Annie Bourdon started CarShare VT. I sat down with Alicia Taylor, the program manager for this three-women business, who explained exactly how CarShare runs.

Taylor said that when a new member joins they are given their own key fob. This key fob activates when the member books a car and allows the member to enter and start their assigned vehicle.

CarShare Vermont has a ten-car fleet ranging from Priuses to a pickup truck. Best of all, rather than having all the cars parked in a central location like most rental services, CarShare strategically parks their cars all over the city in designated spaces.

Members are also provided with prepaid gas cards. Instead of paying the initial buying cost of a new car, as well as upkeep and gas costs, members pay a membership fee of $30, a low monthly fee (ranging from $5-$15), and a small fee per hour of car use.

ButÑand hereÕs the best partÑUVM pays student membersÕ monthly fees and there are two cars already parked on campus by Morril Hall and the Redstone Lofts. Sophomore Olivia Taylor believes that not enough students take advantage of the service.

ÒItÕs a cheap and easy way to run errands or go out for dinner,Ó Taylor said. She also mentioned how useful it is to be able to make a reservation for any time of day or night, as well as for any trip length.

Alicia Taylor said that for car sharing to work, there needs to be an effective public transportation system already set up as well as a certain amount of population density. Burlington, a small rural city, has a good bus system compared to many other rural towns in the area. And, it is the most densely populated city in Vermont.

But CarShare Vermont is in the process of studying the viability of their business in towns Burlington such as Montpelier, Essex and Hinesburg that are significantly smaller. ItÕs owners are hoping that people who live in more rural areas will soon have access to a car sharing organization to accommodate their transportation needs.

With less cars means less of an environmental impact. Car sharing is a no brainer.