Penn launches partnership with CarShare

PhillyCarShare

As the University has turned an eye to reducing its carbon footprint through numerous recycling and energy-saving initiatives, it’s also encouraging faculty, staff and students to drive a little bit greener.

A new partnership joins Penn with PhillyCarShare, a local nonprofit dedicated to reducing the number of cars in the city through vehicle-sharing. Founded in 2002 by four Penn alumni, PhillyCarShare operates cars by the hour or day from various locations in the Philadelphia region.

This partnership, the largest university car-sharing program in North America, encourages faculty, staff and students to use a CarShare vehicle for University business. PhillyCarShare plans to deploy 40 vehicles on or around campus.

“We had been approached by some departments about PhillyCarShare,” says Susan Storb, Penn’s travel administrator. “The more we read about PhillyCarShare, the more it seemed that we should have a relationship with [them].”

The fact that the company was founded by several Penn alumni was an added bonus, says Storb.

“I think they’ve been incredibly successful in their mission,” she says. “That was just an added value.”

The company offers a selection of energy-efficient vehicles in their fleet, including the Toyota Prius and Honda Element. Using CarShare reduces parking headaches, as drivers simply park vehicles back in reserved spaces when the trip is over. PhillyCarShare is offering special contract rates to Penn, though the cost to departments will vary, depending on need and the size of the vehicle, says Storb. The program also encourages faculty, staff and students to use CarShare in their everyday lives, giving $25 in free credits to the first 1,000 people who set up personal accounts with the company.

PhillyCarShare has agreed to set aside 1 percent of profits from the University partnership to the Penn Sustainability Fund, which will support environmentally sustainable projects. Details on exactly how this Fund will be implemented will be addressed as Penn develops a comprehensive sustainability plan by 2009—part of President Amy Gutmann’s pledge to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

Storb says that while PhillyCarShare does have relationships with other area colleges and universities, including Drexel, Temple and Swarthmore, “being the size that we are, we certainly have the greatest impact.”

To set up a business account with PhillyCarShare, go to www.purchasing.upenn.edu/buyinfo/suppliers/phillycarshare.

Originally published Feb. 7, 2008

Originally published on February 7, 2008