Students have already registered for the SUNY New Paltz car-sharing program introduced this semester.
Students have the option to rent two different cars, a Toyota RAV4 and a hybrid Prius, through Connect by Hertz.
Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) signed a contract with the Connect by Hertz program last semester and now students can sign up for a membership online at connectbyhertz.com to take out a car.
Membership for tow programs, Connect 50 and Connect 125, includes an initial fee and there will be monthly fees after this payment is made. For the Connect program there is an annual fee and no monthly fees.
Fifth-year visual arts major Mary O’Leary, who was hired to help advertise the new program to students, said that there are three different plans – Connect, Connect 50 and Connect 125 – which can be chosen by the member based on how much they will use the car.
Each member receives a “connect card” which they then swipe into the car and are able to access the car after signing up for a specific time.The cars are located in the Service Building parking lot.
According to O’Leary, only the driver needs to have a membership for the car, while whatever passengers they have do not. Each car can hold five people.
“You’re responsible for anything that happens with your card,” O’Leary said. “The membership is yours only and you violate it when you give it to others.”
Members can take out the car for whatever period of time they ask but will be charged $8 to $10 per hour, according to which plan they choose. However, O’Leary said gas cards are kept within the vehicle. The cars are also equipped with an EZ Pass system and any tolls incurred will be charged to the members credit card.
Second-year history major Josh Simpson does not have a car on campus and is excited about the new service. He said he’ll definitely be getting a membership.
“I think it’s one of the greatest programs I’ve ever heard of at any school,” said Simpson. “Especially in an area like New Paltz which is pretty rural, just having another type of transportation where you’re waiting for the LOOP…it gives the ability to do what you want, when you want.”
Members can also take the car out for more than one day. Don Diamond, who works with CAS, also worked on the new program.
“If you reserve the car for more than one day, basically you would pay a daily rate versus an hourly rate. You have a maximum of 180 miles for each day you drive the car,” Diamond said. “Beyond that they’d charge you a typical allotted rate per mile.”
According to Diamond, the rental rate includes fuel and insurance coverage. He also said if the member were to get in an accident, they would be responsible for paying a deductible.
“There’s a deductible that the driver would be responsible for if there was an accident of $250,” Diamond said.
O’Leary and others involved in the program are currently trying to make students more aware of the new opportunity. O’Leary said that since first-year students can’t have cars on campus, the program would be particularly appealing to them.
“CAS isn’t making any money off of this. We’re simply doing this to provide an opportunity for students to go outside what the Loop can cover or to go home in the case of an emergency, doctor’s appointments or something like that,” Diamond said. “We’re hoping it works out well. They have a similar plan at SUNY Binghamton and that’s done very well. We’re assuming that this is something [students] will be very interested in.”
A university car share is a great way to teach students and staff about environmental issues car service.