URI Student Senate launches car sharing program to reduce traffic, protect environment

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KINGSTON, R.I. – March 1, 2011 – The Student Senate at the University of Rhode Island has partnered with Connect By Hertz in a car sharing program that is designed to reduce traffic congestion on campus, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and make it more convenient to run errands, visit friends off-campus and take a weekend trip.

Four cars provided by Hertz are parked in designated spaces on the Kingston campus and are available for use by students or other members of the community for a modest hourly or daily rate.

“The University is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint, and parking is always an issue on campus, so this seemed to be part of the answer,” said Anthony Sinapi, a senior psychology, sociology and political science major from Warwick who chairs the Student Senate’s Campus Affairs committee. “It will decrease our carbon footprint, lower the number of cars on campus, save students money, and increase the ability for everyone to get around.”

To participate in the program, interested individuals aged 18 or older with a valid driver’s license can register online to receive a membership card. Whenever they need a car, they can reserve a vehicle online for about $8 per hour or $62 per day, then swipe their membership card over the car’s windshield to unlock the vehicle. Gasoline and insurance are included in the price.

URI is one of 44 universities around the country that are participating in the Connect by Hertz car sharing program. The program also operates in many major U.S. cities, as well as in Madrid, Berlin, London and Paris.

The cars – Ford Fusion, Toyota Yaris and Toyota Rav4 SUV – are equipped with GPS, 24-hour roadside assistance, anti-theft security system, Bluetooth for wireless devices, and push-button access to a “member care center.”

“We’re grateful to the students for initiating this great opportunity,” said Marsha Garcia, URI director of sustainability. “On demand access to a shared car on campus will make it easier for everyone, especially student residents, to leave their personal car at home. It will help reduce our carbon footprint and make the university a more sustainable place to work and study.”

For more information, visit www.connectbyhertz.com.

URI Student Senate member Anthony Sinapi shows off one of the four vehicles available to students in the University’s new car sharing program.

URI Department of Communications & Marketing photo by Michael Salerno Photography.