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>  News Releases >   2008 >   August

Dartmouth takes measures to ease commuting woes

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 08/14/08 • Media Contact: Genevieve Haas • (603) 646-3661 

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Initiative will bring New Hampshire's first Zipcars to Hanover

traffic
"We're conserving gas, we're consolidating the number of vehicles coming into Hanover - so far, so good."

- Bobby Ignjatovic

Dartmouth employees struggling with high gas prices and traffic congestion will get some relief thanks to several new options offered by the college:

  • Beginning Fall term, Dartmouth will be home to two Zipcars, available to drivers over 21 in the Dartmouth and Hanover communities;
  • A vanpool pilot program began this month, where Dartmouth provides a leased van and riders share the cost of gas.
  • Showers at the alumni gym are available to employees who bike to work.

Zipcar, a membership-based car-sharing company that provides auto rentals by the hour or day, will station two cars at convenient campus locations. They will be available, for a modest registration fee, not only to Dartmouth students and employees but to the Hanover community as well. Initially, for insurance reasons, only drivers 21 and older will be able to use the cars, though the College may reexamine that restriction in the future. The Zipcars will allow people who don't have access to a vehicle to reserve a car on-line for use during a designated period of  time. Information on the Zipcar program and membership will be distributed in September. "Car-sharing programs like Zipcars are popular on campuses and in cities across the country," says Associate Provost Mary Gorman. "We hope that students will opt to use Zipcars rather than bring a car to campus, and that employees will leave their car at home and use Zipcars for errands and short work trips." The College expects the Zipcars to be in place sometime during the Fall academic term.

In the vanpool pilot program, Dartmouth hopes to launch up to four vanpools to employees who want to share a ride to work.  The first pilot van pool has started with 10 members commuting along the I-91 corridor and originating in St Johnsbury.  The College will provide a leased, insured van and it will cover the maintenance costs; riders will share the cost of fuel, and the driver and back up driver will receive $30 per month from the college's Transportation Demand Management (TDM) funds.

zipcar logo

Bobby Ignjatovic, a college paint shop employee from St. Johnsbury, Vt., is among the first group to take advantage of the vanpool program. "The College really stepped up to the plate," he said, "and it's surprising to see how fast things fell into place. We're conserving gas, we're consolidating the number of vehicles coming into Hanover - so far, so good."

Mark Heels, a user support technician in Dartmouth's repair shop who plans to assemble a vanpool group, said, "The initiative is part of the new economic and environmental paradigm:  ride sharing, multiple occupancy vehicles and mass transportation instead of the wasteful single occupant vehicle.  I'm pleased that Dartmouth is taking the lead in developing efficient, green and inexpensive modes of transportation for its employees.  The time has come for people of all income levels to participate."

Dartmouth employees interested in starting or participating in a vanpool should contact the Parking and Transportation office at 646-2204.

Bike commuters (and their co-workers) can breathe a little easier knowing that a hot shower is available to them when they arrive on campus. The College will pick up the cost of a shower pass for cyclists in Alumni Gymnasium on East Wheelock Street. To participate, please email or blitz showerpass@dartmouth.edu.

The changes reflect Dartmouth's ongoing efforts to ease the cost and inconvenience of commuting for its more than 3,000 employees. They grew out of suggestions and discussion at a June 25 meeting for Dartmouth employees about commuting issues. The new measures were designed to complement Dartmouth's existing policies and programs in support of commuters, which include TDM parking permit buyouts, reimbursement for use of public transportation and more than $500,000 spent annually to subsidize local and regional public transportation.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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