Bike share to foster mobility on campus

College Council (CC) intends to restart a revised bike share program this spring. While past attempts at a campus-wide bike share program have failed, CC has taken a critical look at how to improve the program and will work closely with the Purple Bike Coalition to secure its success. Rani Mukherjee ’15 has spearheaded the project on CC.

“The bike share program is something that CC has been looking on for a very, very long time, and we’ve just been trying to find a good way to do it,” Adrian Castro ’14, CC co-president, said.

The program will operate using unregistered and unclaimed bikes that were confiscated by Campus Safety and Security last spring. After announcing that they would confiscate unregistered bicycles found on campus last spring, Security secured 300 bikes, which are currently stored at Mount Hope. The Purple Bike Coalition will work to get these bikes into riding condition over the spring.

Students will be able to use the bike share program by signing up online or e-mailing the Purple Bike Coalition requesting a bike. The Purple Bike Coalition will then e-mail the requestor when a bike is available and will provide when the bike is picked up. Every time the bike is returned, it is associated with a new lock to remove the incentive to memorizing lock combinations. As an additional security measure beyond the locks, each bike in the bike share program will have a bright yellow seat and handlebars and a bike share sticker affixed to it.

“We’re trying to de-incentivize stealing bikes because that was a problem the last time the program was offered,” Castro said. “We’re also still trying to figure out how to manage and pay for potential bike theft and damages, but that’s something we’ll look at over the summer, after we send out the all-campus e-mail [containing a survey] and after this initial trial run this spring.”

Bike share will begin its trial run this spring, beginning with bikes being incorporated into next week’s No Impact Week. CC will reevaluate the program’s strengths and weaknesses this spring and the program will be in full operation for the fall.

“We’re still looking at how much financial assistance the program will need, but we’re going to start the trial run and see how it works and look at that information before the fall,” Castro said.

In addition to collecting information from this spring’s trial run, CC will send a survey to the student body to gauge student interest and to project how many students intend to use the program. The survey will ask students if they will use the program, how often they will use the bike share and how long they think that bike rentals should last, among other operational questions.

CC will continue to review the progress of the bike share program before proceeding with full implementation in the fall.