Friday, June 10, 2005

Carsharing is rolling in Santa Barbara

The newest carshare in the country, and the first run by a university, has been up and running for about three weeks at the University of California at Santa Barbara. It's one of the benefits to faculty and staff who don't get a campus parking permit through the campus Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which is funded by revenues from parking fines.

The program was started with 3 Toyota Priuses on campus equipped with the Vetronix on-board computer for vehicle access. Vetronix was a logical choice since they're made in Santa Barbara. Flexcar provides the reservation system. Insurance is the same as for other campus fleet vehicles.

Another first in the nation for the UCSB program is the integration of the member card with the local transit system, Metropolitan Transit District, using a combination chip and RFID card. The chip card also provides participants to 57 hours per quarter of free parking for days when the employee needs a personal vehicle on campus.

The project is the result of many years of interest by James Wagner and others in the university's Department of Parking and Transportation. It was brought to reality through the persistence of undergrad student Logan Green. There are hopes to someday expand the program to student housing areas on and off campus. Check out the program at the link below.