Can’t buy a car? Rent one

This school year, Carnegie Mellon students and faculty members have two new transportation options. Two national hourly rental car companies, Flexcar and Zipcar, recently opened shop in Pittsburgh, offering all-inclusive hourly car rental services to local residents.

To use Flexcar’s vehicles, customers must be at least 21 years of age. Zipcar has a special contract with Carnegie Mellon that allows the company to offer use of their vehicles to students as young as 18.

To use Flexcar or Zipcar, students must create a membership on the companies’ respective pages, ( and ( Both companies require a $35 initiation fee. Currently, Zipcar is running a promotion for students in which the initiation fee is turned into rental credit for the customer.

“We partnered with the university in order to have the cars on campus,” said Zipcar spokesperson Adam Brophy. “The university provides the parking spaces. They help with promotion and we discount the service.”

Even without a contract with Carnegie Mellon, Flexcar shows much potential to solve students’ transportation problems.

Three years ago, Seattle University was one of the first markets in which Flexcar began operations.

“Flexcar provides members of our community the same freedom associated with a personal car without them having to bring their vehicle to campus,” said Mark Melnack, director of transportation services at Seattle University.

Depending on the car, Flexcar’s hourly rental rates range from $6 to $11. Zipcar offers an hourly rate of $7 for all of its vehicles. Both companies’ rates include insurance and gas fees.

Users can search and reserve cars by location or model type via the companies’ websites.

One-third of Flexcar’s fleet is hybrid. The entire fleet consists of a Mini Cooper, Toyota Corollas, a minivan, and a Toyota Tacoma truck. Zipcar has a Toyota Prius hybrid and a Mazda 3 sedan available for customers’ use.

Near the Carnegie Mellon campus, Flexcar has one parking space located on Devon Road in Oakland, two on the corner of Forbes Avenue and Margaret Morrison Street, three on Forbes Avenue near the University of Pittsburgh, and one on Meyran Avenue in Oakland.

Zipcar’s two parking spaces are located in Carnegie Mellon’s East Campus Garage.

Both companies plan to expand the number of cars available to students.

“When we start to add cars, we will work with the school and survey our members to see what kind of cars they want on campus,” Brophy said.

Flexcar has similar expansion plans.

“We started with 20 cars and added 10 more. Now, we are expanding and we are going to be reaching other areas besides Downtown and Oakland,” said Jenna Cox, director of marketing at Flexcar.

Flexcar also plans to add a convertible to the company’s fleet.