For people who don’t have a car in Baton Rouge, their options historically have been limited to walking, biking or taking the bus.
But a car-sharing service that started Tuesday will give people one more option.
Zipcar, located in more than 50 cities and more than 100 college campuses, has launched its service in Baton Rouge with six cars — five of them located on LSU’s campus.
The service is primarily targeting LSU students, but it’s available for anyone to use.
Car sharing is like a time-share for a vehicle. Applicants first register online. Zipcar is charging $15 per year memberships to LSU students and Baton Rouge residents. Zipcar checks driving records, and if approved, the applicant will get a card that unlocks the company’s full fleet of thousands of cars and trucks around the country and in cities in Canada and Europe.
To use a Zipcar, members go online or use a smartphone app to reserve a few hours or a day.
“It’s a round-trip service, so you pick it up from the designated spot and bring it back,” said Naimah Dye, a university account executive for Zipcar.
Three of the cars are located at South Campus and East Campus drives, which LSU students will recognize as East Laville Hall. Two more cars are located on Aster Street in front of the Edward Gay Apartment complex. And one off-campus car is located on McKinley Street at University Edge Apartments.
The parking spots are marked with neon green Zipcar signs.
There are three Ford Focuses, a Toyota Corolla, a Jeep Compass and Ford C-Max hybrid car. The rental rate ranges between $7.50 per hour and $9 per hour depending on the vehicle, which includes the cost of gas and insurance.
The service is available to students 18 years and older and for nonstudents who are 21 years and older.
“You can’t rent a car if you’re under 25, so this is something that will help a lot of students, like international students who don’t have cars,” said Tedera Lipsey, a Zipcar marketing manager.
LSU doesn’t track how many students have cars.
But Damien Rubin, assistant director of parking and transportation for LSU, said it will be an attractive option for out-of-state and international students.
“It will definitely give students more opportunity to go out and experience Baton Rouge,” he said. “A lot of first-year students do tend to bring their cars, but the university is hoping to have more options to enhance the LSU experience.”
Car sharing is just the latest in the technology-based, transportation share culture to reach the Capital City.
Uber, a ride-booking company that allows people to offer taxi-like services from their private cars, came to Baton Rouge in 2014. Baton Rouge officials also have been studying bike-share services where bikes would be parked in various locations for people to rent.
Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter, @rebekahallen.