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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA opens bike share program

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Ashlee Salamon
Ashlee Salamon / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Students who don’t have wheels of their own can now get around campus easier thanks to the Cat Wheels Bike Share Program.

The program, in its second week, currently has 10 cruiser bikes, five at Tyndall Avenue Garage and fice at Sixth Street garage. Organizers started the program small so they could work out any problems, said Bill Davidson, marketing specialist for Parking and Transportation Services. The program is free for students, faculty and staff.

“”We were looking for new ways to serve the community, new ways to provide alternative transportation to the community,”” Davidson said.

To rent a bike, students or staff must present a valid CatCard and fill out an agreement form with the cashier of the garage. A U-Lock and key is provided with each rental. Students and staff may rent a bike Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The bike must be returned by 4 p.m. the next business day in the same condition and at the same location it was rented. If the bike is not returned, a $10.00 late fee will be charged to the person’s bursars account. The bike may be renewed if other bikes are available.

“”It seems like it’s catching on already,”” Davidson said. “”It won’t be too long before we have to add bikes to the program.

Davidson said the cost of the program is about $3,000 to $4,000, which includes the purchase of the bikes, the bike racks and the bike locks.

A member of Parking and Transportation Services staff will also check the bikes for any problems with maintenance on a daily basis, Davidson said.

UA modeled the bike-sharing program after successful programs on other campuses, such as the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Washington, he added.

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s bike sharing program, Buff Bikes, started in 2003, said Peter Roper, the transportation program manager of the environmental center at UC-Boulder. They modeled their program after the University of New Hampshire and the University of Montana. The program is free for students and faculty and allows bike rentals for a 48-hour period.

Roper said they are approaching their 1,500th rental of the year and a few times this semester they have been at full capacity. Their program runs from March to November. The program has 60 bikes, and Roper said the majority of people who rent the bikes are repeat users. He said their program costs about $15,000 per year.

“”Our bikes are fairly rugged and durable,”” Roper said. “”We’re doing well keeping them maintained.””

The program started with 10 bikes, and added five soon after. In 2007, the program doubled from 15 to 30 bikes and this year the program doubled again from 30 to 60 bikes.

“”Our hope is that students more and more, and faculty, start believing they don’t even need a car,”” he said.

UA’s Cat Wheels Bike Share Program is part of Parking and Transportation Services’ alternative transportation program, which also includes car sharing. The increase in parking permit prices this year helps to fund these programs. Both programs stem from findings of the University of Arizona Needs Assessment Study conducted by the Pima Association of Governments in 2008. The goal of these programs is to decrease traffic congestion, Davidson said.

“”I think it’s important because it provides a way for students to take care of short range commutes,”” Davidson said. “”You don’t have to take your car across campus, it’s a clean way to do so.””

 

How to get a pair of wheels:

Present a valid CatCard at either the Tyndall Ave. or Sixth St. parking garages.

Fill out a bicycle rental agreement form.

Pick up a key for your bike’s provided lock.

Bicycles must be returned by 4 p.m. the following business day.

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