Bike-lease program eases transit

From The Battalion

By Chris Scoggins

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012

For some students, the challenge posed by traversing the 5,200 acres that make up A&M’s campus is a difficult one. It’s a challenge that Transportation Services is willing to handle.

Transportation Services — recently named the 2012 Innovative Organization of the Year by the National Parking Association — initiated the Borrow-a-Bike program in early October, allowing students and University employees to lease a bike for a short period of time.

“One of the reasons that we are doing this is to become a more bike-friendly campus,” said June Broughton, marketing and communications manager at Transportation Services.

Broughton also said the program was implemented to give transportation options to students who come to college without a vehicle.

The Borrow-a-Bike program is facilitated in part through Transportation Service’s partnership with MaroonBikes. The program gives students and faculty the opportunity to try leasing a bike to see if it is an alternative that will work for them, without having to pay for a long-term lease.

“Existing resources are being used to operate the Borrow-a-Bike program,” said Ron Steedly, Sustainable Transportation manager with Transportation Services.

“MaroonBikes provided the bikes at no cost to the University, so no student fees were committed to this program.”

For many students and faculty members, the bikes provide Sustainable Transportation.

“Because the bus time is not so frequent, for me its more convenient,” said Jack Yao, sophomore mathematics major. “It’s easy, it’s free and I can use it.”

The bike fleet has up to ten bikes available for lease, which can be continually leased without cost up to 30 times a year. To lease a bike, students or faculty can visit Koldus 108 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Once there, the lessee will go over the features of the bike with a Transportation Services representative and be able to lease the bike for the day with the condition that they have the bike back by 10 a.m. the following morning.

There is not yet a penalty for returning a bike after the 10 a.m. deadline, but Broughton said if the program continues to be successful, more bikes will be added and the rental duration will be evaluated to determine if fees need to be imposed for late returns.

While the bikes have no late fee penalty at this time, Broughton said students and faculty should ensure the bikes are brought back in good condition.

“We ask the Aggie community members that use the program to be conscientious about bringing back the bike in the same condition as when it was borrowed,” Broughton said. “ We would certainly consider circumstances should an accident occur.”

Although the program is in its infancy, Yao said there are some improvements that could be made.

“I think maybe add some insurance because it is possible to be stolen,” Yao said. “I think maybe the two locks are more safe but it costs me more time to use them.”

In addition to providing an alternative method of transportation for students and faculty, the bikes also help some students and faculty accomplish other goals.

“I believe in eco-friendly transportation and healthy living,” said Justin DeSola, customer service representative with Transportation Services. “Riding a bike accomplishes both goals.”