Washington University in St. Louis’ Parking & Transportation Services and Enterprise Rent-A-Car© have partnered to bring WeCar™, a car-sharing program, to the university’s Danforth Campus.
The program, the first of its kind in the St. Louis area, allows Washington University students, faculty, staff and employees of qualified service providers over age 18 to rent vehicles at an hourly rate. The vehicles will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Registration, which is free, is available online.
The university hopes the availability of car-sharing on the Danforth Campus will make it easier for faculty, staff and students to use public transportation or carpools to commute to and from campus, especially with the closure of I-64.
“While many employees and students wanted to explore alternate modes of transportation for commuting, such as public transportation, biking or carpooling, they had a problem if they needed a vehicle during the day for a meeting, an errand or to respond to a family emergency,” said Lisa Underwood, director of Washington University’s Parking & Transportation Services. “We saw this program as a great way to address that problem.”
The program also serves those living on campus. “WeCar provides students with the freedom of having a personal automobile at their fingertips without the hassle and expense of having a car on campus,” Underwood said.
WeCar also is a part of the university’s push to promote sustainability. The program utilizes exclusively hybrid vehicles and keeps other cars off the road, reducing carbon emissions.
“A key part of our university sustainability initiative is to assess our greenhouse gas emissions and our impact on global climate change, and then implement solutions that will reduce them,” said Matt Malten, Washington University’s assistant vice chancellor for campus sustainability.
“Because the WeCar program provides the convenience of a personal automobile without the need of driving it to and from work, we hope this will provide further incentive for members of the university community to make use of the tremendous transportation program benefits we have, such as the Metro bus and MetroLink rail passes, and other options such as walking, biking or car-pooling,” Malten said.
Similar programs have been popular in urban areas such as Washington, D.C., and on campuses such as Emory University and Johns Hopkins University. Both Washington University and Enterprise are confident the program will find equal success at WUSTL.
“As Enterprise Rent-A-Car introduces our WeCar program for the first time in St. Louis, it is exciting for us to be able to partner with Washington University in providing this innovative program,” said Tony Moise, vice president and general manager of Enterprise’s operations in St. Louis. “This all-hybrid car-sharing program is an environmentally friendly solution for students, faculty and staff, providing flexibility, convenience and cost-savings to its members.”
Those enrolled in the program will have access to a fleet of six vehicles strategically parked in four areas throughout the Danforth Campus: on the South 40 near Liggett House; in the Snow Way Garage; east of Brookings Hall near Givens Hall; and near the Mallinckrodt Student Center.
Each is available hourly through an online rental system and can be kept overnight for an additional charge.
Fuel and maintenance are included in the hourly rental fee. Members can fill up their cars’ tanks with a credit card provided by WeCar. Physical damage protection also is included, though members under age 21 also must have their own car insurance.
WeCar also offers 24-hour customer service and emergency roadside assistance.
Initially, four Toyota Prius and two Ford Escape vehicles will be available for WeCar members’ use, but Enterprise may make adjustments regarding available models as demand patterns emerge.
After registering for the program, members receive a key fob, which can be used to unlock the vehicle’s doors. Once inside the vehicle, a customer can retrieve the key to the vehicle by entering a pin number into a keypad in the vehicle’s glove box. Members only will be able to access the key if they have reserved the car online for that specific time slot.