Commuter Profile: Mott Greene and the Zipcar

The born-again commuter

by Karly Siroky
Commute Options Specialist, Pierce Transit

“Today we’re going to go solve the problem that Zipcar solved for me,” Professor Greene shares. We hop into the eggplant-colored Scion XB and rev off campus.

As we cruise down Alder Street, Greene explains that as secretary of the Faculty Club it is his responsibility to purchase supplies for the end-of-year faculty party. “I used to think, Well how am I going to do this? I’m going to have to get someone to drive me,” he says. “Then I thought, Wow—Zipcar!”

Mott Greene is the John B. Magee Professor of Science and Values at Puget Sound. He is also a freshly minted member of Zipcar, the popular car sharing program that has won the hearts of thousands from San Diego to Chicago. As a self-proclaimed “born-again” transit commuter, Greene commutes from his home in Queen Anne via public transit. His commute is a palindrome: bus, light rail, the Sounder commuter rail, light rail, and bus again—and that’s just one way. “The whole thing takes about two hours,” he says, “of which one full hour is certainly just reading time.”

As an affiliate faculty member at University of Washington Seattle, Greene is eligible for UW’s U-Pass, a regional transit pass similar to the ORCA card. The pass allows unlimited rides on Pierce Transit, Metro Transit (King County), Community Transit (Snohomish County), Kitsap Transit, Everett Transit, and Sound Transit, including the Sounder commuter rail.

When asked if he saves money using Zipcar and public transit instead of driving, Green says “There’s no doubt about it.” He explains that when his daughter was attending Annie Wright School in Tacoma, they would commute together five days a week, 10 months a year for eight years. “I was putting 30,000 miles a year on the car,” he said.

Greene comes from a one-car family, and his dream is for the university to start charging for parking. “I would love to see the parking money used to subsidize ORCA passes up to the point where they become an attractive alternative,” he suggests. He explains that having Zipcar helps defeat the common argument of “I would ride the bus, but what if I had to go somewhere suddenly,” making commute options such as transit much more viable.

Before we know it, we’re back on campus and Greene neatly parks the car back in its space. The whole experience—interview, photo shoot, and shopping for supplies—took us less than 30 minutes. 

To register for Zipcar at Puget Sound, visit www.zipcar.com/pugetsound. For Puget Sound students, faculty, and staff, joining Zipcar costs $35 per year. Cars may be reserved at an hourly rate of $8 per hour, which includes insurance and gas.