EVANSTON, Ill. --- A 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid is now parked on the Evanston campus for personal use by Northwestern University faculty, staff and students.
Northwestern signed an agreement with car-sharing company I-GO to place a car in the Garrett Seminary parking lot. The car can be reserved for personal errands around the area at any time of day or night; there is no limit to the length of time or distance per trip. Those who sign up before May 22 will pay a reduced $25 initial registration fee for a membership in I-GO. The usual cost is $75 for a year, and the renewal fee is $25.
Individuals can sign up for the service at the company's web site -- www.igocars.org -- and entering the promotional code D25NWU. Applicants must have a driver's license and good driving record. Since I-GO covers the insurance on its cars, members must also be between 21 and 75 years old.
“The University wanted to remove a potential obstacle of taking public or alternative transportation to work or school, and provide access to a vehicle for personal use while on campus,” said Brian Peters, director of University Services.
The car is parked in the south row of the Garrett Seminary parking lot, in the third space just off of Sheridan Road and north of the Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road.
To reserve a time to use the car, members go to the I-GO website's reservation page or call the company at 773-278-4446 to check the schedule and reserve their spot. At the appointment time, the member uses an I-GO keycard to open the driver's door, enter a PIN number on the glove box keypad and retrieve the ignition key from the glove box.
The ignition key is used to lock and unlock the door during use. Removing and replacing this ignition key starts and ends the reservation. Once the trip is over, the gas and mileage data are sent wirelessly to I-GO, and members are charged in a monthly bill.
What happens if you signed up for a time and the car is not there when you come to get it?
“That's what we don't want people to do, but it can happen,” said I-GO Chief Executive Officer Sharon Feigon.
She recommends scheduling an appointment for 30 minutes more than needed. For a cost of $3 more, it's well worth it, Feigon said. Reservations can be extended if no one else is scheduled in the next slot. But if a car is late to another person's reservation, there is an inconvenience fee based on the situation.
If it is urgent, I-GO representatives, working 24 hours, seven days a week, will call a cab for the next customer to be driven to another I-GO car nearby. The late person will be billed the inconvenience charge and the cab fare.
There are three other I-GO cars in Evanston - two in the public parking garage at 1800 Maple and one in the City of Evanston parking lot in the 400 block of Main Street between Hinman and Judson avenues. There are a total of 64 locations in the Chicago area, all of which can be used by Northwestern members of I-GO.
The Northwestern car is parked in the south row, second space just off Sheridan Road. The lot is north of the Jacobs Center (2001 Sheridan Road) and northwest of Swift Hall.
“Our hope is that the Evanston cars are going to do well enough that we'll add more,” Feigon said
Peters said the University would support more cars if there were sufficient demand from the Northwestern community.
The I-GO service on the Evanston campus follows the introduction of the service on the Chicago campus. An I-Go car has been stationed in the Chestnut Street garage adjacent to Lake Shore Center since December and has been utilized five or more hours daily.