Enterprise CarShare program shuts off its engine


Photo buy Katherine Benedict.

Calvin students no longer have the option of renting on-campus Enterprise cars for transportation. Enterprise terminated the program at Calvin and removed the cars in January.

The Enterprise CarShare program at Calvin College closed January 1. However, Enterprise spokesperson Chardais Bastien noted that the program will continue at 125 other universities in the United States. Members will be refunded on a prorated basis.

Chimes investigated the reason for the abrupt ending of the CarShare program at Calvin, and discovered an apparent disconnect between members of the Calvin community and Enterprise on how well the program was being utilized, and the reasons for closure.

“It’s such a disappointment for us here at Calvin. We were definitely one of their more successful locations,” said physical plant office manager Mary Franks. Regarding the reasons for the closure, she wrote, “I was led to believe from our Enterprise rep that the program was being discontinued nationwide.” When asked about this, Bastien stated that the national program was not closing.

Annie Mas-Smith from campus involvement and leadership echoed Franks’ sentiments and commented on the popularity of the program at Calvin.

“I would say [the Enterprise Program was used] very well!” she said.

While Mas-Smith and Franks perceived that the Calvin program was well utilized, Enterprise had other views. When Chimes asked Enterprise about the reasons for closure, they cited a lack of usage.

“The Enterprise CarShare vehicles on the Calvin College campus were serving a very small number of students,” stated Enterprise spokesperson Laura Bryant.

The Enterprise CarShare program allows members to pick up a car for a short period of time. The program is available in 15 major US cities and many college campuses. The pickup locations aren’t traditional Enterprise garages; rather, the cars are kept at a convenient location near the majority of Enterprise members. Calvin had two Enterprise cars available for student use. Both were gray Nissan Sentras, which were parked behind Schultze-Eldersveld Hall, just off Knight Way Southeast.

According to the Enterprise CarShare program website, people who wish to use the cars  must first become members of the program by filling out an application and presenting proof of a valid driver’s license as well as a credit card. Membership costs $35 but is free the first year. The other main fee is the hourly usage rate of $7, with gas being covered by Enterprise. Cars aren’t rented to anyone under 18.

Mas-Smith commented on the uncertainty of future transportation options for students without cars. Student Senate brought the Enterprise Program to Calvin; however, they aren’t currently looking into a replacement for the program. However, Bryant noted that there is still a way for Calvin students to use Enterprise for transportation. She explained that Enterprise has a Rent-A-Car office nearby on 28th Street, and that students have a way to get there. “As you may know, Enterprise will pick customers up for their reservations,” Bryant informed Chimes.  

Mas-Smith reflected on how the loss of the on-campus Car Share program will affect the student body. “I know students appreciated the ability to rent a car, especially those who don’t have a car,” she concluded. As of right now, no plans have been made for future transportation programs on campus.