University News

RISD launches partnership with Zipcar, bringing car count to 20

By
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Rhode Island School of Design launched a partnership last week with car sharing company Zipcar, making two Toyota Scions available last Thursday.

The partnership was prompted by the Graduate Student Alliance at RISD, said Jerri Drummond, assistant dean for student life at the design school.

The new Zipcars have specially reserved parking spaces on Waterman Street across from the RISD Public Safety Office. They will be available to Zipcar members 24 hours a day and can be reserved online or by phone.

The arrival of RISD’s Zipcars brings Providence’s total Zipcar count to 20, according to Zipcar spokesman Greg Winter. The car sharing company already has two vehicles at Johnson and Wales University and 16 vehicles at Brown.

Zipcar members can rent cars by the hour or the day. Gas, insurance and roadside assistance are included in the rental fee.

Though there isn’t yet any concrete information or numbers regarding the demand for and popularity of RISD’s new Zipcars, “they’re always out of their slots,” Drummond said. The design school arranged for Scions, relatively large cars, so art students can use them to transport supplies, she said.

“Providence is a great market for us,” Winter said. “We anticipate that it’ll be really successful,” he said of RISD’s new program.

This is at least partly because the new cars are available to all Zipcar members, though the program centers on the student demographic, he said.  

Brown’s Zipcars have already been popular with students at the design school, Drummond said. Brown’s program, now about three and a half years old, also started out with only two vehicles, said Carleia Lighty, the University’s transportation manager. The partnership has expanded, she said, to keep up with the demand for convenient, inexpensive, short-term car sharing on- and off-campus.

Lighty said having Zipcars available to students “works well” with Brown’s efforts to be environmentally friendly.

“We want to think green and do our part to help our environment,” she said.

For now, according to Drummond, RISD is monitoring the usage of the two vehicles, and will reevaluate the situation according to demand and popularity “maybe in a month or a couple months.”