U Car Share, an alternative to car ownership, is expanding its growth as it partners with Virginia Tech by launching an alternative to vehicle ownership.

Editor's note: The date U Car Share will begin on campus has been changed from June to August as originally stated. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

U Car Share allows students, staff, and faculty access to cars 24/7, eliminating the need to bring a car to campus during the school year. Students can join and reduce their environmental impact while saving thousands of dollars a year compared to bringing a car to campus. Members pay only for what they use in one low hourly rate. U Car Share takes care of fuel, mileage, insurance, and maintenance costs.

As the student population grows at Virginia Tech and resources remain limited for additional on-campus parking, Virginia Tech has found a creative and innovative solution to the problem: U Car Share. Car sharing aims to meet the needs of those who need a car occasionally, while being sensitive to the surrounding community and environment. Car sharing also reduces the demand for parking and results in greater sustainability while helping to maintain individuals’ mobility.

U Car Share vehicles will be positioned for easy access to students, faculty, staff, and the local community, and will be available on the Virginia Tech campus beginning June 2009. The program will provide six EPA SmartWay certified vehicles, a Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Ford Focus, Toyota Yaris, Mini Cooper, and a Ford F-150. The vehicles will be parked at four different locations near classes, residence halls, and the Squires Student Center. Specifically, one vehicle will be parked on the Drillfield, two vehicles will be parked at the Coliseum Lot, another two vehicles will be parked at the Squires Lot, and one additional vehicle will be parked at the Derring Lot.

Students, faculty, and staff will be able to access the vehicle with a U Car Share membership card. As prequalified members, they will be able to log on to the program’s website at any time and reserve any vehicle of their choice on the U Car Share network. Members can reserve cars for as little as an hour at any time of the day. Gas, miles, and insurance are all included in one low hourly rate, starting at $9.50 per hour. Daily rates are available as well.

“We’re excited to have U Car Share on campus, and think it will meet the needs of students and employees who need a car only occasionally,” stated Debby Freed, alternative t ransportation manager at Virginia Tech. “This new addition to our transportation alternatives will help us further reduce the number of vehicles used by the Virginia Tech community and continue to move our university’s sustainability initiatives forward.”

“U Car Share is a great way for us to expand our business model and reach out to provide a great service to the community,” exclaimed Amy Cox, president, U-Haul Co. of Richmond, “We want to provide Virginia Tech and its students an alternative to bringing a car to campus for the upcoming semester.”

For a limited time, membership, which is ordinarily $50, is free for all students, faculty, and staff. To take advantage of this offer, members of the Virginia Tech community should log on to the U Car Share website and use promotion code VT1FREE2009. This promo code is case sensitive and will expire on Aug. 30, 2009. Participants of Virginia Tech’s Commuter Alternative Program will be able to join for free all year round.

The cars will be available for reservations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and on every day of the year.

Research shows that car sharing is great for the environment. Every shared car on the road can replace up to 15 personally owned vehicles. This means that fewer cars will need to be manufactured, fewer cars will be on the road and the community's carbon footprint will be reduced. Car sharing is fast becoming a critical element of the transportation network in many cities and universities, enabling residents, students and businesses to get rid of their vehicles while still meeting their transportation needs.

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