Students feeling stranded on campus now have an alternative to bumming rides from friends with cars or braving the Tucson bus system.
Gas, vehicle maintenance, cleaning, repairs, insurance and roadside assistance are all covered for the cars used in the UA's new car sharing program.
For $6.80 to $10 an hour, students and faculty can rent a Toyota Prius, MINI Cooper or Ford Escape and leave campus for doctor appointments, grocery shopping or personal errands around Tucson.
Through a partnership with rental car company Hertz, students and faculty can sign up for a car sharing membership. They can then reserve time online or over the phone for when they would like to rent a car, said Bill Davidson, marketing specialist for Parking and Transportation Services.
After students sign up, a driving record check is run on the renter. Those between the ages of 18 and 21 must have a clean driving record in order to participate in the program, Davidson said. A membership card is then sent out which is used to access the cars.
The membership card has a chip that is scanned over the front windshield at the time that the car has been reserved. This unlocks the car with the key waiting inside. The maximum mileage for each rental time is 180 miles.
Davidson said he thinks the program will encourage people to not drive solo to school, but instead to carpool, bike or take public transportation. People no longer have to feel stranded on campus without their cars, he said.
""It's a great way to help people who want to use alternative transportation,"" Davidson said.
Before school started for the semester, 70 people were signed up for the program.
Davidson said they now have 260 members after only the first week. The weekend before classes started, six people checked out cars, and the number has risen in the past week, Davidson said.
There are 10 cars available for rent located in Tyndall Avenue, Sixth Street and Second Street parking garages, on North Highland Avenue and at North Olive Road and East Second Street.
Each car is equipped with a Global Positioning System and a gas card so renters can fill up the tank if needed.
""It's a complete service package,"" Davidson said. ""It's got everything you need.""
The UA is the fourth school to partner with Hertz for similar programs. Davidson said other schools have had a lot of success with the program.
At the University of California, Berkeley, public transit usage increased by 46 percent after a car-sharing program was put into place, according to CarSharing.net, a non-profit educational site.