Few students utilizing PhillyCarShare

“PhillyCarShare. Our Wheels. Your Freedom.”

This adage can be seen displayed across the sides of the red Toyota Prius that has graced our campus this semester.

According to PhillyCarShare Representative Kathy Izumi in a telephone interview, there are 36 current members from Eastern, including students, faculty and administration. A few pending applications are also in process.

As of Nov. 14, so far this semester Eastern’s car has had 33 reservations made by 17 members. For the most part, the car is used every other day, but only for short periods of time. The most popular reservation times are Friday afternoons and the weekends. There was one extended reservation in September that spanned from a Thursday afternoon to a Saturday night.

PCS considers a car successful if it generally acquires eight hours of use every day, according to Izumi. In those cases the car pays for itself through usage.

“We would love to see [the car’s] usage go up, but for a new pod it isn’t doing terribly,” Izumi said.

According to Katie Brenneman, office manager for student development, Eastern and PCS are working together to come up with unique marketing strategies to target students who are not yet PCS members.

Currently Bryn Mawr College has two cars from PCS and around 100 members. They first received their pod in September 2006. In comparing Bryn Mawr’s usage in their first months to Eastern’s use, Eastern comes out about the same. Bryn Mawr used their car about every other day as well; however, on the days they used the car, it was used for more hours.

The question of whether or not the car could be pulled from campus due to lack of usage has often been asked. Izumi said such an action would only come after both PCS and Eastern tried every other option available. “Both sides have invested time and energy for the car to be on campus,” Izumi said. “[PCS] would only pull the car from Eastern’s campus in an extreme situation, and it would not come as a surprise.”

Housing Director and Gallup RD Leah Mulhearn is a PCS member who has utilized the car three or four times. “My husband and I only have one car, and 99 percent of the time there aren’t any problems,” she said. “Sometimes, though, I have doctors’ appointments or necessary errands and the [PCS] car is very convenient.”

Maggie Stewart, a sophomore and PSC member, has used the car once for about an hour to run to Target. “The key fob is easy to use,” she said. “It took like five minutes to figure out how to turn the darn car on, but once I did it, it [was] really easy to do it a second time.”

Listening to those interested in PCS, the most common complaint is the price.

“I just wish it were less expensive,” Stewart said. “But then, money’s always the issue, isn’t it?”

Compared to local car rental companies, PCS has some big differences. It is the only one that that has hourly rates, and it also does not charge drivers aged 18 to 24 extra fees. While using a car rental is cheaper for a weekend getaway, it is cheaper to use PCS for short trips.

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