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Zipcar's latest sharing mission: bikes

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Mariella Moon, @mariella_moon
September 17, 2016
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Zipcar has teamed up with a start-up called Zagster for a new vehicle-sharing venture that has nothing to do with cars. The partners are launching a bike-sharing program in January that's aptly called Zipbike, and unlike big, city-run operations, it will only be available in 10 college campuses. Well, fifteen by the end of 2017, if everything goes according to plan.

A relatively tiny bike-sharing operation doesn't sound like a good business decision, especially since the partnership will make it more affordable for universities. See, Zagster, which already runs a bike-sharing business, charges schools a $150 monthly fee per bike on its own. Zipbike will reduce that amount by 90 percent. Despite the huge reduction in cost to their clients, Zipcar told CNN Money that it still has something to gain from the partnership: new customers.

While students can sign up just for Zipbike itself, they'll get a discount if they sign up for both the bike-sharing service and Zipcar's main offering. Since they might need a rental car every now and then anyway, say to haul groceries or to take a new Ikea table to the dorms, they might be inclined to take advantage of that discount.

Zagster co-founder Timothy Ericson said:

"The process of securing sponsorship and underwriting is a time-consuming process for universities, and can set back the launch of bike sharing programs. Because we've solved that problem up front, Zipbike can be deployed seamlessly and quickly. We expect Zipbike to become the leading national collegiate bike sharing brand, and ultimately become synonymous with the category."

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