AURORA | Getting onto and off of the Anschutz Medical Campus is getting a little easier for students or patients who don’t have wheels of their own.
Zipcar this month announced that its car-sharing service was coming to the campus in north Aurora with a fleet of cars.
The company, which allows members to rent a car for drives of up to 180 miles, started serving the campus on Labor Day.
Nicole Dalmy, general manager for Zipcar, said the company has more than 100 cars around the metro area and has been looking to expand into Aurora for a while now.
“We’ve been trying to figure out how to get into Aurora because its such a big city,” she said.
The booming campus at East Colfax Avenue and Interstate 225 was the ideal spot for that expansion. For one, the company has already heard from members there itching for Zipcar to come, she said. Plus, the company has long used college campuses as one of its main hubs for its cars.
While Zipcar regularly works with colleges and universities, Dalmy said the Anschutz campus’ hospitals are also a good fit, especially for patients who fly into Denver for treatment at the campus.
“Sometimes sick people don’t want to ride on a train,” she said.
But Dalmy said there was more to it than just the hospitals and schools.
With RTD’s Aurora light rail line set to open with stops near the campus next year, Dalmy said the services will be a good fit for commuters who want to use public transit, but might need a car for part of their workday.
The big barrier lots of people have to using public transit or some other way to get to work is that they could need their car at some point during the day. Dalmy said car-sharing services give commuters the confidence to use public transit knowing that if something comes up and they need to drive themselves somewhere, they have that option.
Zipcar isn’t the only car-share option on the campus.
Car2go has been at Anschutz since last year with a fleet of cars parked in the same lot at East 16th Avenue and Victor Street where Zipcar has some of their vehicles.
Michael Pletsch, car2go Denver General Manager, said his company launched at Anschutz in August 2015.
The two company’s have different business models — car2go uses uniform Smart cars while Zipcar has a varied fleet. Zipcar has roundtrip options that require a car to be returned to Anschutz, as well as an option to drive the car to another Zipcar “pod.” Car2go meanwhile allows drivers to leave the car wherever they need.
Pletsch said car2go doesn’t have a set number of cars at the campus. Instead, as members use the 330 cars they have around the metro area, some of them are steadily rotating through the campus.
“Our members just hop in the car2go closest to them and drive to or from campus as needed,” he said in an email. “Our unique model provides the flexibility and freedom of car ownership without the costs and responsibilities.”
So far the program has been a hit at Anschutz, he said.
“It has been very popular and continues to grow,” he said. “… We are very excited to be on campus and provide a convenient and affordable transportation option to faculty and students alike.”