The Green Commuter car rental program has been shut down on campus after its three year partnership with Southern Adventist University.
On Aug. 23, Southern students received an email from Marty Hamilton, Associate Vice President of Financial Administration, confirming that the university’s car rental program had been officially terminated.
In preparation for the new school year, the service was temporarily suspended during early August, and the Green Commuter cars were taken from Southern’s charging station for maintenance purposes. During this time, Green Commuter was also working on renewing their automotive insurance contract. However, according to Hamilton, despite receiving no claims from Green Commuter in Chattanooga since the beginning of 2017, the insurance provider decided to raise the prices considerably. In response, Green Commuter concluded that paying the new insurance would not be worth the cost, so they decided to end operations in the Chattanooga area.
According to Hamilton, the project was successful at Southern, which “made up 43 percent of all rentals in the Chattanooga area.”
Nadine Peteros, sophomore business administration major, only started using the service during last year’s winter semester but said that she used it almost every weekend.
“It was worth it if you went with a lot of friends because you could split the cost,” Peteros said, explaining why she liked the project so much. “It’s kind of inconvenient because I feel bad asking people for rides because I have to work around their schedules.”
Samuel Kumendong, sophomore nursing major, is another student who felt disappointed by the abrupt culmination. He says he frequently used the service throughout the previous school year for various purposes such as quick Walmart trips or going out to eat with friends.
“It definitely impacted getting settled into the dorm because we had to go to Walmart a few times and we’d have to wait two to three days before someone would be available,” Kumendong said.
In an interview, Hamilton explained that his feelings mirror those of disgruntled students.
“What bothers me the most is that we did it as a service to students…I had no advance warning, so all I got was an email saying that they closed the whole program here in Chattanooga,” Hamilton said.
In the meantime, Hamilton says that he and his staff are meeting with CARTA soon to explore alternatives for other green transportation services that the school may provide to students.
Green Commuter was not available for comment, but while the rental car service is no longer operating, the charging station is still available for students and faculty to use.
The program, which started in 2017, was part of a Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) sponsored partnership between the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation (CARTA) and Green Commuter. The project’s goal of providing greener transportation to Chattanooga was implemented through planting a series of electric car-charging stations around Chattanooga, where Green Commuter would provide rental cars for the public at $7 an hour.