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Marshall sticking with WeCar program

Sep. 01, 2012 @ 10:46 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University is sticking with Enterprise Rent-A-Car's WeCar program after debuting the car-sharing program last October.

Jim Withers, director of Enterprise Business Rental Sales for West Virginia, said membership and usage figures were low, typical for a program that launches in the middle of a semester.

"Whether you have an awkward start time or traditional (at beginning of semester), year two is when you really take off," Withers said. "Now that WeCar has an established presence on campus and is reaching out to students ... membership is expected to increase."

He said the past few months have been good thanks to the opportunity to speak at summer orientations. And, Withers said the new WeCar Ambassador, senior Jakki Moore, is doing an outstanding job in marketing the program.

Moore took over the spring and said she has been focused on creating and sustaining buzz about the car-sharing program.

"My strategy is to bring awareness," she said. "We think the lack of membership (last year) was because of a lack of information."

She spoke during the summer orientation, prompting several parents and new freshmen to inquire about WeCar. The program is open to students, faculty and staff who have a valid driver's license (including an international driver's license). Unlike Enterprise's rental car policy, those between the ages of 18 and 20 can participate in WeCar but must provide a signed form from a parent or guardian acknowledging they know their son or daughter will be a member.

Withers, though he didn't disclose membership and usage numbers, said there has been a 25 percent increase in the past month in memberships. And, he added that usage has increased as well in the past 30 days.

Marshall's fleet includes a white Nissan Altima Hybrid and a green Ford Fiesta, parked in the lot outside the Public Safety Building along 5th Avenue between 18th and 19th streets.

Those becoming members must pay an annual $35 fee, but the application fee will be waived and they will get $35 in rental credit.

The program also includes liability and collision damage coverage, reducing the liability exposure for Marshall and taking away the requirement that students be insured.

Hourly rental rates are $8 for the Fiesta during the week and $8.50 on the weekends. The Altima is $9 an hour during the week and $10 on the weekends. Overnight rates, from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., are $35 for the Fiesta and $40 for the Altima. Full-day options also exist for $56 and $65, respectively. Those members who are 21 and older who need a daily rental or longer can call the local Enterprise locations.

Members can travel up to 180 miles per car-share period, and a gas card is included. Reservations are made online, and members swipe their membership cards on a scanner located on the vehicle to unlock the doors.

Marshall officials have said that, despite having a new parking garage, parking on campus is limited. And many students bring vehicles but drive very little.

"I hope they realize it's not just a car we're offering," Moore said. "We can help reduce our carbon footprint and a way to help with sustainability."

Students and Marshall employees can call Moore at 304-522-6209 or visit online at www.wecar.com/marshall.

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