With limited space in peninsular parking garages and many students going off campus just to find cheaper parking spots, car ownership at the College can be rough. “Everybody knows that downtown Charleston is known for not being the best place for parking in the world,” said Neil Reinhardt, senior at the College and student intern for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. This year, Reinhardt and members of the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Sustainability introduced Enterprise Car Share, a program that allows individuals under 21 to rent a car through the college.
“It’s for anyone who would want to sign up and use the cars,” Reinhardt explained, “but it’s mainly targeted at the younger freshmen who come into campus and they don’t have a car.” Members pay an annual fee of $35, along with an hourly fee ranging from $4.75 to $11.50, depending on their plan and which car they rent. They also have the option to rent by mileage rather than by the hour.
Two cars are currently available for members to rent: a Ford Fusion and a Ford Escape, both of which are eco-friendly, according to Reinhardt. Currently, the cars are used an average of two to three times per day. However, we have yet to see whether the program will catch on with students.
Only about 40 people have signed up for the program so far, but Reinhardt hopes to increase membership with the new class of freshmen this fall. “I know I would’ve used the heck out of this program all the time, just for going to the beach, going to see friends, going out of town, just anything you want,” he said.
Ashley De Peri, a freshman this year, said that she would likely not sign up for the Car Share program. “It hasn’t been too bad, because none of my other friends have cars either, so we’re all in the same boat,” she said.
“For me it’s not worth it because I don’t really like to drive that much, and I’m able to get where I need to go when I need to go there… But I see why other people who travel more than I do—or enjoy travelling more than I do—would.”
Every week, De Peri takes CARTA to the animal shelter and a school-provided carpool to the softball fields on James Island. “I have been stranded [by CARTA] on James Island a couple times, and then I was also going to go to a hockey game, and the school said there was going to be a shuttle, but said shuttle never came,” she said. The Car Share program could relieve these types of problems for students with tight schedules.
Transportation on and off the peninsula will always be stressful for students, but perhaps the addition of Enterprise Car Share to the list of options will make it easier for some. At the very least, Reinhardt believes it will become a selling point for potential students.