As part of our Curious Cornhuskers initiative, a reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Why did Zipcar close at UNL? Is there any plan for another car-sharing service on campus?”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some car-sharing services, including Zipcar, sold many of their vehicles that had been in use prior to the pandemic, according to Dan Carpenter, director of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Parking and Transit Services. While Zipcar is no longer in service as of now, Carpenter recommends using Lyft or Uber as alternatives.

Zipcar had been contractually available at UNL for many years, and it allowed people to create accounts and drive cars on demand by booking a car by the hour or day. 

The university started with four vehicles on campus and moved to three Zipcars for the majority of the time the service had been active at the university, Carpenter said. 

Earlier this year, when the university approached Zipcar about renewing their service for another year, Zipcar did not do so, he said. 

“Our term with Zipcar just ended in May, and we went to do a one year extension, and they declined,” he said. “Which, knowing that they had problems with supply, we knew that would happen.”

When looking at other services, Carpenter said the same supply issue continued to arise. Many of the companies are instead focusing on larger markets rather than university campuses. 

Carpenter confirmed that Zipcar will not be active during the fall semester but said it is possible they will go out and bid again in the spring semester to see if vehicle availability has increased. 

“I am hoping car manufacturers get back up and running and [are] able to produce vehicles so we can trickle down and have our services again,” he said.