Maria Honey is with the University marketing department. Any student that comes to school will tell you that depending on the time of day and the time of week, they’re going to have a challenge finding a convenient parking spot.
Looking for parking can cause students and professors to be late for class and it can cause non students to miss the first part of the event taking place on campus. So they’re trying something new. Car rental. For just eight dollars an hour students and faculty can rent a car and go wherever they want for as long as they want. Transportation manager Eric Holamon says everything is done online.
"You book everything online. If you need to talk to someone you push a button. They’re literally a button push away, but they way the program is designed is entirely self service."
You won’t find a car rental lot on campus. They’re starting with just three vehicles parked in front of the dorms. Holamon says all you have to do is swipe a card on the windshield and the door will open.
"The car will unlock, there’s a little communication device it will ask them if they have a drivers license and if there’s any damage to the vehicle. Once they answer those two questions, the key inside will start the car up and they use it until they’re done."
Maria Honey says their goal is to get students who live on campus to use the cars instead of bringing a car from home.
"We have students that live on campus and bring a car and don’t use their car for two weeks. Some of those residents are not parking in those exclusive spots because they just fill up. They’re parking over here in the economy lots or the student lots."
The program is run by Hertz. They own the cars and the online reservation program. The price starts at 8 dollars and that includes a GPS system and gas.
"This provides the flexibility of having a car without owning one."
Ohio State was the first college campus in the U.S. to try the program. Here in Texas the University of North Texas launched their car rental program last year.
With only three cars available to rent, school administrators admit this won’t all of a sudden mean lots of parking available, but they will add more cars if teh program takes off. Still a good chance you’ll find yourself driving around looking for a spot.