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You Can Rent A Car From Penn State Starting This Fall

Last week, we were told that students couldn’t be trusted as responsible drivers. This week, Penn State Transportation Services announced new initiatives that will launch this fall allowing students to rent cars from the university to “run errands.” Call us crazy, but this seems counter-intuitive.

The three initiatives being implemented are carshare, rideshare, and “repairs, education, and bike share.” These programs are meant to contribute to the sustainability goals outlined in Penn State’s current five-year strategic plan, which dictates institutional priorities from 2016 to 2020.

“One of our jobs is to provide the options people are asking for and see which ones are successful and continue to roll out new ones,” director of Transportation Services Rob DeMayo told Penn State News. “In some cases, the programs reduce single occupancy vehicles. In other cases, people are getting out of their cars and biking or walking. For us, we’re reducing customer and departmental costs, and helping the university meet its 2020 goals.”

The carshare program allows students to pay for short-term use of a car, like a rental system of sorts. There will be a few cars over the summer, and the program will launch fully with six to eight vehicles at University Park in the fall, with additional campuses following suit based on demand. One goal of the program is to encourage students not to bring their personal cars to campus if they don’t end up using them that often.

“It’s like a community car,” DeMayo explained. “The cars will be parked in high-visibility areas. Students often bring a car to campus, park it, and it sits there unused for weeks. One of our messages is going to be: you don’t necessarily need to bring your cars to campus.”

The rideshare program is an online database that will connect anyone with a Penn State ID seeking a carpool arrangement. Drivers will be able to map their routes online and connect with commuters. This program will not only save commuters money but will also reduce the number of cars on campus.

BEEP, or the Bicycle Enforcement and Education Program, will allow bicyclists an opportunity to have their first rule violation dropped in exchange for participating in a bicycle education course. Penn State also plans to add four additional bicycle repair stations around campus, doubling the current number.

The bikeshare program, similar to what UPUA considered in 2010, mimics the idea of the carshare program. This initiative is predicted to launch on campus in 2017; similar initiatives already exist on other Big Ten campuses and in major cities across the United States.

You have to wonder how they’ll word the clause in the rental agreement that prohibits students from renting cars to travel to canning trips.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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