Zipcar Comes To Houston (To Rice, At Any Rate)

Zipcar is a green-ish, Yankee-land concept that actually makes sense for a lot of people -- you can rent a eco-friendly car for a couple of hours, relatively cheaply.

It's a concept that now has come to Houston. If you're a Rice student.

Rice has signed on with Zipcar, and as of today students, faculty and staff can pay the $35 annual fee and then fork over seven bucks an hour or $60 a day to drive either a Prius or Volvo.

Kristina Kennedy, a spokesperson for Zipcar, tells Hair Balls the university contacted them a while back to see about getting the service, but there was a snag -- drivers had to be 25 years old.

Zipcar has since worked out a deal with its insurer, and 18-year-olds are able to drive, opening up markets on college campuses countrywide.

Right now, there are no plans to introduce it to regular ol' Houstonians.

"From our viewpoint, we're looking for more university partners all the time, so in the next couple of years you may see us on more campuses in Houston," she says.

Zipcard members get a "zipcard," kind of like Metro's Q-Card. They reserve a time online and then simply go to the Zipcar, parked near Baker College on the Rice campus, swipe the card and the doors will unlock. The keys are inside.

-- Richard Connelly

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