By Sarah Thomas
After the first half-semester of its implementation, the Ohio Wesleyan car share program has not made a large dent in its goal of reducing parking congestion.
Starting this year, the university partnered with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to provide rental car service for students.
By reducing the need for cars on campus, the program aimed to decrease demand for parking spaces and bring down the number of cars in order to aid OWU’s sustainability efforts.
Junior Marissa Witkovsky said the program has not made any progress on the parking lot crowding issue that she can see. She is not a member of the program and brought her own car to campus.
Director of Public Safety Robert Wood said it will take several years for the cars to make a significant impact.
The program is based on paid membership, with an initial $35 annual fee. As an incentive to sign up, members will also receive $25 in driving credits. These credits can be used toward the costs of a rental car for a specific time.
The hourly rate for weekdays is $9.50 and $10.50 for weekends. Students can also rent a car for the whole day for $60 or overnight for $40. Gas is included for the first 200 miles.
Witkovsky said she would consider joining the program if it were cheaper.
“If the costs for an hour were half the price, then I would have been much less likely to ever bring a car to campus and just use this service,” she said.
Senior Jennifer Eltringham also had an issue with the cost. Eltringham is a member of the service and has rented a car for a trip.
“I was shocked by the late return fee,” she said. “I was only five or so minutes late and they charged me $50.”
Students can reserve a car online for a specific time online. Members gain access to the car by scanning a membership card over a reader on the car. Once the vehicle is unlocked, the keys are located inside.
As part of the standard rate, there is a pre-paid fuel card located in the car. In addition, there is a 24-hour roadside assistance and member service that can be called when needed.
The car locks when the driver holds the membership card over the card reader. Once this is done, the rental has ended. When returning the vehicle, the keys stay locked in the car.