Two Boston-based companies are joining forces to create bike- and car-sharing networks on college campuses throughout the country. Zipcar and Zagster are slating the start of their new Zipbike program come January, at which point they plan to have it up and running at 10 universities.
For a discounted price, college students and faculty members will be able to purchase memberships granting them access to both cars and bikes. Zipcar and Zagster are setting up these Zipbike networks after seeing an increased demand for shared, multimodal transportation on campuses.
“What we’re starting to see is that there’s a big trend around kids not wanting to bring cars on campuses,” Timothy Ericson, co-founder and CEO of bike-sharing startup Zagster, told us. “And universities don’t want to bring cars to campuses either. They’re investing in ways to make prevent that from happening, when they can… We’ve been going after the same customers, offering similar solutions. It was a ‘1+1 = 5’ scenario. We both benefit exponentially more by combining our efforts.”
Ericson said Zipbike will start off on roughly 10 campuses. He added, “We’re really using those first ones to test out this concept and make sure this is something that could work… We’re working with some universities and have a shortlist, but we’re not at a point to name them yet.”
Ericson said they’re expecting to firm up which universities will pioneer the Zipbike program in October.
David Piperno, vice president of finance and strategy at Zipcar, wrote to us in an email, “In regards to criteria, we’re looking for campuses that share our commitment to sustainable, on-demand transportation, and who are willing and able to do what’s needed to make these services thrive, including providing access to highly visible locations for stations, consistent marketing and promotion and integration with other modes of campus transportation.”
The companies expect to have Zipbike at 15 campuses by the end of next year, which they think will be only the beginning of its expansion across North America. Zipcar has vehicles on about 500 campuses, while Zagster has brought bike-sharing to 25 campuses in the U.S prior to the partnership.
Over sixteen years ago, Zipcar was a pioneer of the sharing economy, growing its mission-driven company right here in Boston. Zipcar grew from a few members in the Boston area to now over one million members across nine countries. The support of the Boston community and the City’s affinity for embracing alternative forms of mobility has enabled innovative transportation services like Zipcar and Zagster to flourish. The Zipcar and Zagster partnership furthers that Boston is fostering innovative companies that are driven by a mission to make communities better places to live.