Local News

UNC Self-Service Taxis Have Bit Of Zip

Posted January 8, 2004

— Beetlemania is sweeping through Chapel Hill.

The Fab Four arrived at University of North Carolina campus Wednesday. This time they are not driving fans crazy, but driving them wherever they want to go.

The four silver 2003 Volkswagen Beetles are not rock stars, but Zipcars.

"It will allow folks who choose not to own a car to have easy access to a car," said Larry Slotnick of Zipcar.

Zipcars are short-term rental cars available at different parts of the campus.

"I think it will be a real benefit to people who use transit, cycle and walk on to campus, but have errands they need to run during the middle of the day. I think it will be great for that," said Debbie Freed of UNC's transportation department.

Interested motorists must register with the university in advance and pay a $20 annual fee.

"You

go online to reserve the car

when you want it. You can reserve it the same morning you want to use it or a year in advance," Freed said.

Zipcars rent for $5 an hour and are customers are issued an electronic card.

"You hold your card up to the card reader. That will trigger the automatic door locks to unlock," Slotnick said.

The cards become active at users' designated times. When the drivers finish with the cars, they just return them to their designated parking spaces.

MIT, Princeton and Harvard have also Zipcars on their campuses. Drivers can also zip around in them in Washington D.C., Boston and New York City.

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