Bike-Share Program Under Consideration By Transportation Services
Bicycle-share programs are well-established in major U.S. cities and college campuses alike, offering an efficient means of fossil fuel-free transportation without the hassle, in this case, of lugging your own bike up a few flights of stairs to your dorm room or apartment. In fact, here’s a comprehensive list of all the American cities with programs either already in place or in the works.
Well, those interested in pedaling to class right here on the Penn State campus could be in luck. According to Transportation Services‘ Special Projects Coordinator Jason Thomas, the university is currently in the midst of putting together a “request for proposals (RFP) to interested bike share program members, hopefully within the next month.”
“Once we receive proposals, they will be reviewed and we will determine if such a program is financially feasible, and if so, which vendor offers the program model that best fits the needs of Penn State,” Thomas said.
In 2010, UPUA vetoed a piece of legislation that called for bike to be made available free of charge with the swipe of an ID, citing a need for more research and planning. The following year, a student-run, non-profit organization called “PSU Bike Share” instituted a free pilot program of its own through Simmons Hall, but it failed to take off.
Thomas also mentioned that his department received nearly 3,000 responses to a university-wide survey on the topic this past March, and many opinions strongly favored the implementation of such a service. Of course, it remains to be seen what shape the program would take at University Park, as opposed to elsewhere across the nation. However, the details should become clearer once the university hears back from interested vendors and decides whether to move forward.
Photo By: Jack Lukow
If given the final stamp of approval, this would be the first time the university gets involved in an official capacity and constructs various locations across campus. Enemies though they may be on the gridiron, Ohio State University actually has a successful scarlet and gray coated bike-share in its backyard of downtown Columbus through the company CoGo. CycleHop and Zagster are two other prominent companies that supply metropolitan areas with an eco-friendly transportation alternative.
While the finer points would clearly be discussed upon receiving the go-ahead, it seems reasonable that the program would likely utilize a Penn State ID system of some sort, perhaps similar to swiping in at football games, to check bikes in and out. “We hope to have more information to share with the university community early next year,” Thomas said.
The prospects of our very own, blue and white bike-share program are certainly picking up momentum, hopefully a vendor that suits the needs of the university steps up as an interested collaborator. We’ll have to wait and see, but this would be an awesome addition to the Penn State community, making those unbearable cross-campus treks to class a whole lot easier.
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