University News

WIU Teams Up with Hertz for Pilot Car Sharing Program

December 2, 2009

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MACOMB, IL – No wheels but you need to run several errands around town on Saturday? Or in the mood to roadtrip out of town? Or want to go home for the day – or the weekend -- but don't have a ride? Join Western Illinois University's Connect by Hertz car sharing program and get a car for an hour or two or three … or even a weekend.

Western and Connect by Hertz have teamed up to debut the pilot car sharing program at WIU's Macomb campus, beginning Jan. 19, 2010. WIU is one of only three Illinois public universities currently participating in the program.

According to Griff Long, director of global operations for Connect by Hertz, the program offers individuals all the perks of having a car, without having to own one. WIU members pay $8 an hour to use one of three fuel-efficient vehicles, which include a Toyota Prius, a Toyota Camry and a Mini Cooper. So if a member and three friends decide to take a day-trip to Peoria and are gone for eight hours, split four ways each person contributes $16.

"That's a pretty reasonable amount considering you don't have to pay for the gas, maintenance, insurance or other necessities associated with owning a vehicle," Long noted. "And the hourly rate is capped at eight hours, so even if you have the Toyota Prius for more than eight hours or overnight, you won't pay more than $62 a day for that vehicle."

Beginning in January, two vehicles will be parked at the University Services Building, near the Western Illinois Credit Union, while the third vehicle will rotate locations throughout campus.

Membership can be completed online after Jan. 1, 2010 at Once approved, members receive a Connect card which is used to unlock the vehicle. Each vehicle is equipped with a GPS system, an iPod adaptor, a Bluetooth connection and 24/7 live service to report problems, extend reservation times and more. Vehicle reservations are also made online, and a credit or debit card is necessary for membership. When the car is returned, Connect by Hertz charges the member's credit or debit card for the costs incurred. Long added that individuals joining the WIU program before August 2010 will have the $50 annual fee and $25 application fee waived. The only requirements to become a member are to be 18 years of age and have a good driving record.

"As part of a growing emphasis on improving campus environmental sustainability, Peter Cole, chair of the WIU Sustainability Committee's transportation subcommittee and I worked together to get this pilot program started at Western," noted Physical Plant Director Charles Darnell. "We hope that students, faculty and staff take advantage of this unique program as each Connect by Hertz 'green' vehicle is potentially capable of removing as many as 10 standard vehicles from the road. Not only does the program provide an added convenience at a low cost to our campus community, it also helps reduce the negative impact that personal travel has on the environment."

For more information on WIU's car sharing program, contact Darnell at (309) 298-1834 or visit

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Relations