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Western starts up the Ucar Program

Western shifts into gear with cars that students will be able to rent

By Annie West | Freelancer
On April 18, 2012

In the next few weeks, Western students who have been without transportation in the past will have the ability to rent one of two cars at an hourly or daily rate to travel outside of the Monmouth-Independence area.

The service is provided by Uhaul as part of their car share program, Ucar, and should be available to students within the next two weeks.

In previous years at new student orientation, at least one parent always asks the question, "Does my student need a car at school?"

In the past, the answer has always been dependent on how the parent feels and on a few variables that include the friendships the student makes and the fact that Western resides in a small town, which makes walking to destinations easier.

This year, however, is the first time that students who do not have a car on campus do not have to rely directly on other students, WOLF Ride or walking into Independence for groceries.

Ucar will be placing two cars on campus, free of charge to the University, and available to all students who meet specific requirements.

According to Dr. Gary Dukes, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the idea of making this service available to students is not a new one, and has been in the works for quite some time now.

"This is something that has been talked about for two or three years now," Dukes said when explaining that another company like Ucar has contacted Western in the past about offering the same services.

He also explained that the cost of the guarantee required by Zipcar makes more sense in a place where there might be more use, rather than in a more urban setting like Monmouth.

That being said, Ucar does offer more cars to sites with higher rates of usage.

Although the Ucar service does not cost the university money, it does cost the student. There is an initial $25 membership fee, required of any student who wishes to rent one of the two vehicles. After that, the cost of renting a vehicle depends on the distance, and the length of the reservation.

For students who wish to rent one of the two cars for an hour or two, the rate, according ucarshare.com, the program's website, is $4.95/hr and 59¢ a mile. The program does offer two caps, both found on the website that allow the student to save money.

The first is for the student who rents a car by the hour, but only drives two miles. For an example, say a student rents the vehicle and only drives to Waremart, lunch and back, then the student only has to pay $6.13/hr plus gas.

The second car is for  students who drive more than 20  miles and are renting on an hourly basis. Instead of paying by the mile, the student then pays a flat fee of $9.25 per hour.  

For students who wish to take one of the cars for the day or overnight, there is a $62.00 cap per day for the first 180 miles used. After that, there is an additional $0.40 per mile charge.

The fees include insurance covering the car, as well as a gas card that students use to fill the tank if it should drop below a quarter of the way full.

Unlike most rental cars, a student does not have to be twenty-five in order to rent one of the two cars being offered. Instead, according to Ucar's membership agreement, a student must be at least eighteen years of age, with two years of licensed driving without violations, both minor and major.

For students over the age of twenty-one, two years of licensed driving is still needed, but the violation rules are more lenient as they only require less than two accidents within the past three years. However, the agreement still requires that the student not have any speeding violations, alcohol or drug violations, or major violations that include "reckless, aggressive, careless or inattentive driving."

These requirements can be found in full, as well as further information on the program, on Uhaul's carshare website, ucarshare.com.


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