Simpson partners with U-Haul to provide rentable cars

by Chelsea Winegard and Sarina Rhinehart

Simpson College may be receiving two rental cars from the U-Haul Corporation for students to use starting next fall.

U-Haul Corporation has offered to supply Simpson College with two cars: a Prius and a Focus for students to rent out and use.

“These would be new cars and the only obligation that Simpson has is to provide two places to park,”

said Jerry Kelley, executive assistant to the president. “So there is no cost to the institution, other than two parking places.”

In order to rent a car, students must register online for the specific time slot they want to use it and enter the information to pay for the services.

“The cars have a keypad on the door, when you rent the car you are given a pin number,” Kelley said. “You go over to the car enter the pin number on the door, the door opens, you get in the car and off you go. They keep track of the car using GPS positioning on how far you go and how long you have it. You bring the car back, put in back in the parking place and you’re finished. It’s a pretty simple thing.”

U-Haul has decided renting the cars will cost $4.95 an hour and 39 cents per mile for the Prius or 49 cents per mile for the Focus.

Simpson would not only get the benefit of having two cars on campus, but will offer a couple more job opportunities for students on campus.

“They would employ students to make sure the cars are washed and if they need to be serviced then they go up to one of the U-Haul locations in Des Moines to get their oil changed and that kind of stuff,” Kelley said.

The deal is currently waiting on approval from the college attorneys who are worried about Simpson’s liability.

“The contract is with the college attorneys right now and it’s also with the college insurance agents to make sure that the college isn’t exposed for liability and students are protected, all those legal things that the institution is going to do,” Kelley said. “If they say it is all legal then we will try to have them here ready to go by mid-August to start the school year.”

There are 800 registered cars on campus this year, meaning only a little over half of the student body has vehicles registered through the school. Kelley said he thinks the rental cars could really benefit students on campus.

“I met with some international students this year and that was one of the things they said. They have international driver’s licenses and have no way to get anywhere,” Kelley said. “And again out-of-state students also. So I think that for certain instances it would be something that would be very handy to have for people.”

Tyson Wirtz, senior and student ambassador, said he thinks this will be a great service to students.

“I think that a lot of students can benefit from this service,” Wirtz said. “Students that don’t want to bring cars to school and students who live far away and fly to school will benefit the most. Being able to rent a car gives these students the opportunity to get to and from Des Moines.”

Having rental cars is another great way that Simpson will appeal to the students that live a long distance away, Wirtz said.

“As a student ambassador, I always told students it was not necessary to bring a car to school,” Wirtz said. “We always let prospective students know that there is enough parking for students, but they certainly don’t have to bring a car if they don’t want to. This will help reinforce that idea and help students realize the college is looking out for their interests. Simpson’s location to Des Moines is always a great selling point and these rental cars would make that point even better.”

Sophomore and senate member, Annie Fullas, does not foresee any negatives in having this service on campus.

“The Senate seemed to come to the general consensus that the car rental service would be a positive addition to Simpson,” Fullas said. “It’s especially appealing because the service would be at no cost to the college.”

There are no other colleges in the area that have this service, which is why Simpson is jumping on this chance to offer this great opportunity to its students.

“This could definitely be a good marketing tool in selling Simpson to prospective students,” Fullas said. “Not only would it be great for students without cars but would be great as a back-up option if my car is undergoing service.”