A car-sharing program scheduled to begin in January at Kansas University will provide students and others without a car an opportunity to rent one by the hour.
Donna Hultine, director of KU Parking and Transit, said the department has worked with the Hertz rental car company to have four cars available: two on Daisy Hill and two near the Kansas Union.
People can go online and reserve a car for a period of time and will be charged $8 an hour to use a vehicle.
The service formerly came with a membership fee but no longer does, said Lemore Hecht, Hertz manager of communications and social media. She said the program is in place on more than 50 college campuses.
“People need these cars, and they need them for an hour or two hours,” Hecht said. “We’ve had a pretty good response.”
People over age 18 who are interested in using the service can sign up for a membership, but they need to have a credit card. They receive a radio-frequency identification card they scan on a reader on the windshield. They enter some verification data into a Bluetooth system in the vehicle, and off they go, Hecht said. The keys are in the vehicle, but it won’t start without the card and verified information being entered.
The hourly $8 fee includes insurance and gas, too, she said. A gas card is available in the vehicle, and users can use it to fill up the tanks after entering member ID information.
Several students had asked for the service, which will be available to university staff and Lawrence community members as well. If the demand exceeds the capacity, Hertz can add more cars. The service will begin with two Ford Escapes and two Chevrolet Cruzes, Hultine said.
Mitchell Pruett, a KU freshman from Salina, said that though he had his own car, he knew several students who could benefit from the service.
“A lot of people ask me for a ride,” said Pruett, who lives in Hashinger Hall. “I know a lot of people without cars, and I think they would use it.”
KU had looked at similar programs over the last couple of years, Hultine said, but decided on Hertz. KU won’t be paying anything for the service, as Hertz intends to get all of the fees it needs to provide the service through its users. A membership and reservations page will be available online at KU at parking.ku.edu/hertzon
demand in early January.
Posters and other advertisements for the service will be arriving on campus, too, over the next week.