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Enterprise partners with WKU to offer car-sharing program

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is partnering with WKU to offer car sharing through Enterprise CarShare for students, faculty and staff.  Enterprise CarShare is a membership-based automated car rental program that offers around-the-clock access to hourly, daily and overnight car rentals.

WKU students (18 and older) are eligible for membership in Enterprise CarShare.  Faculty and staff may enroll in the program as well to have access to vehicles for personal use. Members reserve a vehicle online then access the vehicle using a membership card.  When finished, they return the vehicle to the same parking location.

“Enterprise CarShare provides students at WKU with a low-cost, convenient transportation solution located right on the campus,” said Ryan Johnson, assistant vice president of Enterprise CarShare. “Our Enterprise CarShare network offers a sustainable, totally automated and efficient mobility option that can help alleviate parking and transportation challenges at universities across the United States.”  Enterprise operates car sharing programs on more than 70 college campuses as well as corporate, government, military and downtown programs throughout the U.S. and Canada.

As Jennifer Tougas, WKU’s Director of Parking and Transportation Services, explains, car-sharing programs are part of nationwide university initiatives to reduce parking demand by providing alternative services and programs. When parking demand is reduced, valuable land can be used for other purposes on campus, such as academic buildings or green space.  In addition, since building and maintaining parking is costly, averaging between $3,000 per parking space in parking lots and $15,000 per parking space in parking structures, reducing parking demand directly saves the University money in infrastructure costs as well.  These savings are passed on to the faculty, staff and students at WKU.

“We are excited to offer car sharing to students, faculty and staff at our campus,” Dr. Tougas said. “Over the last few years, we have seen a steady trend that fewer students are bringing their own vehicles to campus.  This initiative provides these students with an affordable and convenient transportation option without the costs and hassles of personal vehicle ownership.”

Since it costs thousands of dollars per year to own and operate a car (http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/what-that-car-really-costs-to-own/index.htm), car sharing can save students a lot of money because they are only paying for the vehicle when they use it.  Fuel, insurance and maintenance costs are built into the rental fees.

Christian Ryan-Downing, the Sustainability Coordinator for WKU, is hoping the program will be successful to support the University’s sustainability goals.

“The benefits of a car-free lifestyle include not only financial savings, but also improved personal health with increased daily activity such as biking and walking, and greatly reduced environmental footprint,” she said. “College may be the most convenient time and place to go car-free, and the ability to ‘borrow’ a car when you need one makes it even easier. Fewer cars in our community means reduced carbon emissions, improved air quality, and less pressure for increased roads and parking lots.”

WKU students, faculty and staff with a credit card and valid driver’s license can sign up for the program at http://www.enterprisecarshare.com/wku. The program will begin with two Toyota Corollas parked in the Barnes Parking Lot, near many of the residence halls on campus.  Local Enterprise operations maintain the cars and have the flexibility to add CarShare vehicles to meet demand as the program grows.

Enterprise CarShare is a natural extension of the local car rental service Enterprise pioneered and continues to provide, and car-share programs are supported by the extensive Enterprise Rent-A-Car neighborhood network of more than 5,500 rental offices located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.

Along with operating two rental locations in Bowling Green, Enterprise recruits and hires approximately 15 to 20 WKU graduates each year and currently employs nearly 50 WKU alumni nationwide.  A Brand Ambassador Internship program has been established at WKU to market the car sharing service on campus.

More information is available by visiting www.enterprisecarshare.com, the Enterprise CarShare Facebook page, or by following @carshare on Twitter.

About Enterprise CarShare: Enterprise CarShare is a natural extension of the local car rental service that Enterprise Rent-A-Car pioneered more than 55 years ago.  Enterprise CarShare offers a variety of clean, well-maintained vehicles at an affordable price, when and where customers need them, whether it is for an hour, a day, a weekend or longer. In 2011, Enterprise Holdings entered a major retail car-sharing market for the first time by acquiring PhillyCarShare in Philadelphia, and then, in 2012, it acquired Mint Cars On-Demand in Boston and New York City. In May 2013, Enterprise Holdings acquired the business of IGO CarSharing, the first car-sharing program in Chicago.  Today, Enterprise CarShare offers hybrid, plug-in and fuel-efficient vehicles, delivering car-sharing technology’s speed and economy nationwide to businesses, universities and government offices looking to enhance their fleet management operations along with their fiscal and social sustainability initiatives.

Contact: Jennifer Tougas at (270) 745-8746, Jennifer.tougas@wku.edu, or Greg Phillips at Gregory.D.Phillips@ehi.com.

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