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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Rental cars for students

Those feeling the isolating drain of the Grinnell bubble will find relief in a new program called Connect, which will allow students, staff, faculty and town residents to rent cars at an hourly rate.

The program is sponsored by Hertz Rent-a-Car and will effectively start Monday, Oct. 4 with the activation of the Grinnell-specific Hertz website. Licensed drivers over the age of 18 with a clean driving record and a valid credit card will be able to register online and reserve one of two Hertz rental cars, a Ford Escape or a Toyota Prius. This weekend, the cars will be parked around campus for students, faculty, and their families to view.

The cars can be rented for $8 per hour. The standard $25 registration fee will not apply to students, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Houston Dougharty. Also, unlike standard car rental programs that require renters to be 21 or even 25, the minimum age for renting a Connect car is 18.

“The cool thing about a car sharing program is you pay a lot less money, but you have a car when you need it,” said Dougharty, who helped start the program. “You pay one hourly fee and it includes using the car, insurance, maintenance, fuel and roadside assistance.”

Additionally, members of Connect can rent cars at any other Hertz Connect location in the United States, under the same qualifications and at the same rate of $8 an hour. “We really just don’t see a downside,” said Dougharty said.

Jointly implemented by Student Affairs and the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, the car-sharing program was modeled after the Hertz Connect program at Colorado College. A faculty member at Colorado and the father of a Grinnell student was frustrated that he and his wife paid to maintain and insure their student’s car, which was rarely used. Impressed at the success of the program in Colorado, he approached Student Affairs a year ago about starting a similar program at Grinnell.

Holden Bale, the Student Government AssociationVice President of Student Affairs, supports the program.

“From an SGA standpoint, finding transportation and reimbursing gas mileage is a super-unreliable process,” he said. “This will, to a certain extent, guarantee you a car.”
Hertz Connect started in New York City as an environmentally friendly way to provide the benefits of owning a car without the costs of maintaining one.

“It’s been very successful so far,” said Hertz representative Brian Geiken. “Just this year, we’ve expanded to 40 universities and three cities. We hope it will be as successful at Grinnell.”

The contract between Hertz and Grinnell spans a one-year trial period, pending the success of the program. After a year, Hertz, Student Affairs, and the Grinnell chamber of Commerce will decide whether or not to continue. Stephen Briscoe and Chris Bair, the Directors of Security and Facilities Management, will administer the program.
Briscoe voiced his enthusiasm for the contract.

“I’m excited about the program,” he said. “I look forward to it coming here and I think the student body will benefit a lot from it.”

For more information, visit the company’s website at A Hertz representative will be on campus later this month to answer questions.

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