New car-sharing program has 17 users

The program is run through Enterprise Rent-A-Car with no cost to the university.
Two WeCar vehicles sit last Sunday in front of the MU Student Center. There are currently 17 registered WeCar users.

WeCar, a car-sharing program available at MU since Aug. 18, has 17 registered users, with 37 pending applications, Student & Auxiliary Services spokeswoman Michelle Froese said.

According to WeCar’s website, WeCar is operated through Enterprise Rent-A-Car. It provides MU students, faculty and staff with two hybrid vehicles and two sedans located at 911 E. Rollins St., outside the MU Student Center and Memorial Union.

Students, faculty and staff can apply for the program online. A onetime application fee is now waived, and the annual membership fee is $35, plus a set rate per trip. Applicants younger than 21 must provide their own liability insurance.

“This program supports MU’s sustainability initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint, as well as relieve congestion and parking demand on campus,” said Jeff Zeilenga, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, in a news release.

Parking and Transportation Director Jim Joy said he hadn’t seen the total ridership of the WeCar program yet, but he also doesn’t know how to measure the numbers if the program reduces the demand for individual cars on campus.

“It could reduce the numbers of vehicles on campus,” Joy said. “But we have 24,000 parking spaces. I don’t know how much differences those four vehicles are going to make.”

Froese said WeCar has not provided the information yet.

“I think it’s a bit too early to determine if we have reduced the number of cars on campus,” Froese explained. “The program has only been up and running since August.”

Joy said he also didn’t see a decrease in the number of parking permits offered this semester.

“People have different perception, but we are not out of capacity for parking vehicles on campus,” he said. “We may not offer parking spaces wherever they want, but we are not denying everyone a parking permit.”

Joy emphasized, MU doesn’t make any profit from the WeCar Program, and the university is simply accommodating the program.

“This program is cost neutral for the university, provides a convenient service for the campus community and has the added benefit of being eco-friendly,” Froese said.

Joy said whether the WeCar program would be expanded in the future is an open-ended question.

“I am told I do not have the numbers,” Joy said. “But I am told it is being used and a lot of students are interested in it, so I think it would take at least a year to become publicized and promote in that way.”

Froese said she also expects the program to grow as word of mouth increases.

“It will be the people who used it and tell others they like it,” Joy said. “This will also be a better marketing tool than simply posting notices in the MU Info.”

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