Updated Thu, Sep 4, 2014 5:39 pm
A new car-sharing program launched Wednesday at Ohio University.
Anyone in the Athens community 18 or older can now sign up online for a $25 yearly registration with Zipcar. Then they can reserve and use the car for as little as an hour or up to seven days. Drivers pay either an hourly rate or a flat day rate. Gas and insurance is also included in the fees.
Marty Paulins, Ohio University Director of Transportation, says the Zipcar program aims to reduce the number of cars on campus and to also reduce the carbon footprint.
“There’s all these transportation options available and the campus is so walkable to begin with – do you really need to bring a car and that expense of a car on campus,” he said.
Currently there are two cars for students and community members to share. Paulins said that if the Zipcar program is successful then more cars will be added.
The program is also cost free to university.
Another way residents travel around Athens is with the public bus system. Each route costs one dollar. The five routes travel from campus to East State Street and even to The Plains.
Michael Lachman, Athens Public Transit Transportation Services Manager, says that East State Street is a popular destination for riders.
“That’s our big shopping district, a lot of people find that to be a destination and it’s too far for most people to walk from the middle of town.”
Amber Casto, a resident of the Plains, is frequently uses the public bus system. She said that it’s cheaper than paying for gas and as a busy mom it’s a huge convenience.
“It’s good for people like me because I don’t have a car,” she said. “All I have to carry is his stroller and he’s contained.”
Lachman said that both Athens County residents and OU students use the public bus system. He added the first week of classes has been their best first week for student ridership.
He says that with so many transportation options available to Athens, switching up the way we travel is an easy thing to do.
“Sometimes we get locked into thinking we have to do one thing or another. I’m either in my car, on my bicycle or I’m a pedestrian – that’s what I do,” he said. “But it’s really kind of liberating to realize that you can do all those things at different times."