Car sharing meets a need for temporary wheels

Dear Benny,
I know Penn is trying to decrease the number of people who drive to campus and I would like to take public transportation rather than drive. The trouble is that I often have to go to meetings or events around town as part of my job and therefore need a car. Does Penn offer any options like car sharing that staff can use in these situations?
—Stuck in Park

Dear S in P:
Penn does, indeed, contract with two car-sharing companies—PhillyCarShare and, most recently, Zipcar—to offer convenient transportation services to members of the Penn community for business needs. With more than 80 cars available within a 10-block radius of campus, these use-them-when-you-need-them vehicles offer an affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly way to get to business meetings and other appointments when walking won’t do.

Any University office can set up an account with the car-share companies, and then when you need to use a car, you can simply reserve the vehicle using your departmental account. Both companies offer special contract rates to the University, and Penn employees who use the vehicles for official University business are covered under Penn’s insurance. Once you have established an account with either company, you will receive an electronic key that provides access to all cars. When business calls, you can simply go online, pick out the vehicle you want, make a reservation and get rolling. Gas and mileage (up to specified distances) are included. When you complete your journey, return the car to its parking spot near campus.

Additionally, both PhillyCarShare and Zipcar also offer special discounts to Penn employees who open personal driving accounts. And with a Zipcar membership, you can reserve vehicles in 13 other cities where the company operates.

For more information about opening a Penn account, contact Susan Storb, travel program administrator, at 215-476-4200.

Got a question for Benny? Send it via e-mail to current@pobox.upenn.edu or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106.

Originally published on October 28, 2010