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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

ZipCar arrives in Grinnell community


By Eyerusalem Desta

Zipcar is a car-sharing network that was implemented on the Grinnell College campus on September 9th. Not only can Grinnell College students use this network, the service is also available to members of the local community. The partnership has been in-the-works for about a year as the idea was first brought up a year ago.

There are currently two cars available for rent at a rate of seven dollars and fifty cents per hour and $69 per day. To join, there is an annual fee of $15. This service is open 24/7 and users can reserve the cars in advance.

The service includes insurance, gas, and 180 miles. It takes about a week to receive the physical Zipcar card in the mail after signing up online. Simply go to to sign up.

Grinnell College students must be at least 18 years while members of the local community must be a minimum of 21 years old to rent a car. The service operates on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Some of the future goals for this program include reducing the number of cars necessary on campus and hopefully improving the parking situation for cases where students feel they want on-campus cars. In a news release, Grinnell College President Raynard Kington explains some of the environmental benefits and the local community outreach goals.

“This partnership enables members of both communities to drive while reducing emissions and the need to own and maintain a vehicle. We hope the partnership will strengthen our relationship with the Grinnell community and bring the college closer to its goal of approaching carbon neutrality by 2040,” said Kington.

In addition, Zipcar will be helpful for the large international student body at Grinnell as students who have an international license also qualify to make use of the network.

“Zipcar also allows drivers to use an international license, which can open up travel for our international students that has not been an option in the past,” said Office Manager Dixie Hansen.

The two cars are located on sixth avenue in the Great West parking lot. There are only two for now because Grinnell wants to determine usage before adding more.

“We started with two cars to see how much usage there will be by the campus community and the Grinnell community. If the usage warrants additional cars, more can be added at a later date,” said Senior Content Strategist Lisa Lacher.

In cases of accidents, insurance is provided but students must cover up to $1,000 of damage.

“All accidents and damage need to be reported to Zipcar as soon as possible, and then the information will be sent to the driver, explaining the appropriate procedures to follow. Although insurance is a part of the membership contract, members are responsible for the damage fee of up to the first $1,000 of damage,” said Hansen.

In any case, there will be an investigation into the accident after its initial report. To lessen the damage fees, it is possible to pay for a damage fee waiver as well.

“The Zipcar driver’s account will be suspended during the subsequent investigation and it is possible a damage fee will be assessed. It is possible, however, to reduce or eliminate the damage fee by purchasing an optional damage fee waiver from Zipcar,” said Hansen.

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