Flexcar is piloting a new program for college students between the ages of 18 and 20 at six universities across the US. The first campuses include the University of Portland (Ore.), University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-San Diego, University of California-Berkeley, University of Maryland and Emory University (Atlanta).
Campus parking for privately-owned cars is typically very limited, and rental car companies traditionally only rent to licensed drivers 25 and older. Even car-sharing, which has been rapidly expanding on college campuses, has been restricted to those 21 and older.
Based on the results of the pilot, Flexcar may partner with more campuses in the Fall.
Flexcar is already providing car-sharing services to faculty and staff at colleges and universities. Many campuses offer Flexcar as a commuting enhancement service to encourage faculty and staff to leave their cars at home, using Flexcar for personal errands during the day. Other campuses rely on Flexcar for university-related business travel, such as meetings, seminars and other trips.
The company is working through the many challenges associated with what the insurance industry generally considers the highest-risk driver group: those under 21. Nonetheless, Flexcar officials feel it is important to extend the personal, environmental and community benefits to this segment of the driving population.
Students at these universities must meet certain eligibility requirements in order to participate in the program, including a clean driving record, supplemental insurance and parental approval. They also must pay a refundable deposit.
Flexcar operates car-sharing programs for more than 35,000 members in eight metropolitan areas, covering nearly 40 cities in seven states and the District of Columbia. Flexcar’s fleet includes sedans, gas-electric hybrids, and specialty vehicles including pickups, AWD, minivans and convertibles.