ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington is offering students an Earth-friendly option for getting around town this fall by becoming part of a unique nationwide car sharing program.
Connect by Hertz is a pay-as-you-go car membership club. Students or faculty will pay as little as $8 an hour or $62 a day to use one of two cars parked at conveniently located lots on campus. The cost includes gas, insurance, 24-hour roadside assistance, gps navigation and other features.
The result will be less pressure on students to have cars on campus, said Meghna Tare, director of UT Arlington's office of sustainability. Fewer cars on the road means less carbon dioxide emissions.
"This program fits in well with the sustainability goals and initiatives of the University. It reduces congestion on campus and gives faculty and students a cost-effective alternative," Tare said. "We are striving to become a sustainable campus, and this appeals not only to existing students, but prospective students as well."
Hertz estimates that one car-sharing vehicle can replace the need for 14 personal vehicles. Both Hertz cars arriving on the UT Arlington campus this week - a Ford Escape and a Toyota Camry - are EPA SmartWay certified. That means they are "very good environmental performers relative to other vehicles," according to the EPA.
The city of Arlington does not offer in-town public transportation.
By September, UT Arlington will be listed on the Connect by Hertz website, www.connectbyhertz.com. On that site, staff and faculty can join free until Oct. 31. There is normally a $25 membership fee. After joining, they can go online or call 1-877-654-4400 to reserve a time to use a vehicle. Their Connect by Hertz member identification card will unlock the doors.
"Car Sharing is extremely popular among university students, as well as faculty and staff, providing an environmentally friendly, economical alternative to car ownership," said Griff Long, Connect by Hertz' senior director. "We're confident our partnership with the University will be beneficial for students and we look forward to providing Connect services on campus."
Representatives from Connect by Hertz will be on campus Monday, Aug. 23, to show off the new cars and explain the program as students move into residence halls and other campus housing. The cars will be parked in front of Arlington Hall, 600 South Pecan St., and Kalpana Chawla Hall, 901 South Oak St. About 4,200 students, or 14 percent of UT Arlington's student body, will live in campus housing this fall.
The Connect by Hertz program is one of several projects UT Arlington is undertaking to create a more sustainable campus. For example, the University also is encouraging faculty and staff to register on the North Central Texas Council of Government's tryparkingit.com website. That site matches up carpoolers and allows them to calculate the harmful emissions they save by sharing rides.
To learn more about the university's efforts to "go green," visit www.uta.edu/sustainability.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate institution of nearly 29,000 students in the heart of North Texas. For more information, visit www.uta.edu.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.