Offers New Transportation
Option to Those Who Don't Drive to Campus
By Ioana Patringenaru | May 22, 2006
Two free months for all new Rideshare Program
members (up to a $288 savings)
$15 discount on all monthly Coaster passes
$15 discount on all monthly Transit/ Trolley
$10 reduction per month in 2006/2007 vanpool
$1 per day parking along Bachman Drive,
Hillcrest Medical Center (a $5 discount
on daily parking)
You’ve read the e-mails. You’ve seen
the signs. You might have noticed the booth at the
Farmer’s Market on Library Walk urging you to
sign up for the Flexcar program.
But what’s Flexcar, anyway? The answer, actually,
is pretty straight forward. It’s a program that
allows employees who don’t drive to work to
have access to a car on campus. The vehicles are available
for short periods of time, both for personal use and
Together with a series of other incentives, university
officials said they hope the program will help get
people out of their cars and onto carpools, vanpools,
bikes and trains. As one of San Diego's largest employers
and a community leader, UCSD should provide sustainable
transportation to reduce traffic, parking congestion,
and air pollution in the San Diego area, said Assistant
Vice Chancellor Gary Matthews. Flexcar and incentives
will help save money for students, employees and the
university, officials also said in interviews.
“We feel very strongly from the transportation
point of view that our goal is to make things more
affordable,” said Brian d’Autremont, director
of Transportation and Parking Services.
He pointed out that each spot in a parking structure
costs the university $22,000 to $29,000. Higher gas
prices are making it easier for advocates of public
transportation to get their message across, he added.
The Flexcar program started in April, said Edwin
Webb, marketing manager for Rideshare programs. Seven
vehicles are available, including two vans. Four are
stationed on the main campus, one at Thornton Hospital
and two at the Hillcrest Medical Center. Most of the
cars are Hondas and most of them are hybrids. Employees
have used Flexcar about a half a dozen times in Hillcrest,
The program is available for employees who don’t
have a UCSD parking permit. The cars are available
for free for six hours a month, up to three hours
at a time. Employees can use the car for longer periods
of time at a special discounted rate of $8 per hour.
Several employees said the program was a good idea.
“It would be wonderful,” said Edie Munk,
special projects coordinator at UCSD Extension.
Munk said she usually rides her bicycle to work.
But she sometimes drives when she has meetings or
needs to run errands. Using Flexcar would allow her
to leave her car at home for good, she said.
Meanwhile, starting July 1, the university will offer
incentives to increase membership in its Rideshare
programs. They include a discount on Coaster and Trolley
passes, as well as vanpool and Hillcrest parking rates.
The goal is to double membership within the next three
years, d’Autremont said. So far about
4,300 employees and students are members. They take
the Coaster, or ride in vanpools and carpools from
as far as Temecula to the north, El Cajon to the east
and Imperial Beach to the south. They also bike to
“We know that to meet everybody’s needs,
we have to be able to do a little bit of everything,”
Katie Koteen, a senior artist, said she was glad
to hear that the university will offer a $15 monthly
discount on Coaster passes. Her pass currently costs
$116 a month. The North County Transit District recently
announced it plans to raise Coaster rates by $10 a
month, she said. Koteen said she rides the train because
she doesn’t really like driving.
“It’s not faster,” said. “But
at least you have time to yourself.”
The incentives do carry a price tag for Rideshare
members. They will now get 10 days of complemintary
parking a year, instead of 10 days of complimentary
parking a quarter. The savings were used to finance
other Rideshare incentives and try to boost membership,
Webb said. The university has handed out $2.1 million
in free quarterly occasional use parking permits last
year, according to a statement.
This year, the university also has handed out 20,000
stickers, which allow employees and students to ride
city buses for free. Next school year, the stickers
will be valid on entire routes, including the route
going to the Hillcrest Medical Center.
more about the Flexcar program.