Hourcar replaces Zipcar at University of Minnesota

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2013 - 9:39 PM

Zipcar is out at the University of Minnesota, and Hourcar is in.

Hourcar recently won a two-year contract to provide car-sharing service at the U starting Aug. 1, said Steve Sanders, alternative transportation manager at the U’s Parking and Transportation Services.

Twin Cities-based Hourcar already has 2,000 members in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Its expansion into the University of Minnesota area is a natural fit since about 25 percent of Hourcar’s users are students, said spokeswoman Mary Morse.

Hourcar will park 10 vehicles on campus in or near the Washington Avenue Ramp, the 21st Avenue Ramp, the Printing Services building at 29th and Como Avenues SE., and at Sanford Hall and Frontier Hall.

Most of the vehicles will be small, such as the Honda Civic, Honda Fit and Toyota Prius, but there will be at least one pickup truck, Morse said.

“Cars are expensive and students are among the most cost-conscious of any consumer group,” Morse said about Hourcar’s desire to enter the university market. “We can help them save money and give them an entry into a life that doesn’t require constant driving.”

Zipcar had provided car-sharing at the U for six years. But Sanders said Hourcar offered better insurance, one reason for the change.

Students and staff with current Zipcar memberships will be given a $35 transportation credit to cover the cost of joining Hourcar. New members — students, faculty and staff — will pay a $35 membership fee. All users pay a flat $8 per hour. The simple pricing structure also helped Hourcar win the contract, Sanders said.

The change comes as the city of Minneapolis is launching a pilot project to expand car sharing.

In addition to the 10 vehicles at the U, Hourcar has 47 vehicles for community use and plans to have 80 by 2014.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768

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