Approximately two weeks ago, the first ever WeCar in Washington was introduced to a college campus. That college campus is BC. Resting on the first floor of the parking garage and in lot 14 are a Kia Soul and a Fiat 500 waiting for a driver.
Similar to the concept of the Zipcar, the WeCar is a company owned by Enterprise that makes it easy to rent out vehicles at an hourly rate. An annual cost of $35 is required, but the money will go directly back to driving credits. Each hour the car is rented is $8. The cost of overnight rental is $35. While the initial rates may seem a bit pricey, these costs include fuel. Up to 200 miles per car share period will be paid for by WeCar. The Kia Soul gets 27 miles to the gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, while the Fiat 500 has 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway.
The best deal in these rates is the weekend rate. From Friday night to Monday morning, a car can be rented for $55. This in itself could be a more affordable way to go on a small weekend road trip because of the program’s fuel coverage.
While rental cars require drivers to be at least 25 years of age, the WeCar’s eligibility is open for any BC student, faculty and staff at least 18 years old, but anyone 20 or under must have a parent/guardian consent form signed before membership is approved.
Another perk to this rental program is that international students are eligible for membership if they possess a license from another country. This is appealing because purchasing a car while abroad is not always financially probable, but by renting a car for short periods of time, international students have more options in the event they need their own transportation.
WeCar is even dedicated to providing accessibility to its members by installing mobility devices such as left hand controls with spinner knobs, left foot accelerators and pedal charge. Members must reserve the car 48 hours ahead of time, and installation of these tools is complementary.
“I think it will help students either not have to drive to campus and also maybe not even have to buy a car at all,” stated the smiling Deric Gruen, BC’s Sustainability and Resource Conservation Manager. He has been working on starting a car-sharing program to BC since July of 2011.
To sign up for this program, go online to www.wecar.com/bellevuecollege. After registering, a card that is similar to a credit card in appearance will be mailed to the new members. Making an appointment to rent the car is all done online, and to access the car, members will need to hold their cards in front of the censor located at the front of the car. This will unlock the car. Located in the middle console will be the keys to the vehicle as well as a gas card.
Because the cars are owned and maintained by Enterprise, BC does not profit from the rates. However, the school does benefit by having the additional option for its students.
For now, BC only has two cars on campus for students to use. “Depending on interest, more cars will be added,” shared Gruen. Gruen also persuaded students to utilize www.rideshareonline.com. This is a website where BC students can find carpool buddies and people to split the cost of WeCar rental.
Becoming a member of the WeCar program will reap benefits such as not having to pay for a car, having fewer vehicles on campus and having more transportation options available.