Bike Share Program: Getting Around Campus on Two Wheels

Bike riders can use the Zagster bikes for free during the first two hours

Bryan Marty Martinez, a fourth year student and current GCAP director, led a team of students to implement UCR’s first Zagster bike share program. sandra baltazar martínez

Riding on two wheels to get from one end of campus to the other just got easier.

A few weeks ago, 50 new bicycles became available to all UC Riverside students, staff, and faculty members, via UCR’s Zagster Bike Share program, UCR’s first campuswide bike share program. The white bikes are parked at seven locations throughout the campus, including lot 30, Glen Mor, and near the HUB. They can be accessed by downloading an app on both iPhone and Android.

This program came together with the collaboration of Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP), Associated Students of UCR (ASUCR), Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS), and the Student Recreation Center (SRC). Procurement Services and Capital Planning also played key roles.

The real work started more than a year ago, with the vision of a former UCR undergraduate student Michael Ervin, who served as ASUCR vice president of Campus Internal Affairs. Then, this past summer, fourth-year student and current GCAP Director Bryan Marty Martinez worked all summer to finalize logistics, contracts, and execution of the program.

When students returned from winter break, 50 Zagster bikes and 100 racks were in place. They’ve quickly becoming popular, probably because riders use the bike for free for the first two hours. After that, it’s $1 per hour, and charges cap at $6 per day. A local vendor has been contracted to service bikes, Martinez said.

Martinez, a sustainability studies major and political science minor, said GCAP is the primary funder of the bike share program because it wants to support UCR’s bike-friendly atmosphere, as well as offer an inexpensive mode of transportation to the campus community.

“Students can get to class on time, it’s environmentally friendly, and for commuters, it can help expedite their arrival to campus,” Martinez said.

He also encourages staff and faculty members to pick up a bike. “Why not? Everyone is doing it. You can improve your health, and getting used to riding a bike [again will be] like a childhood memory,” Martinez said.

William Grover, assistant professor of bioengineering at the Bourns College of Engineering, decided to ride a bike on a recent January morning. sandra baltazar martínez

Assistant Professor of bioengineering at the Bourns College of Engineering, William Grover, is excited about having access to a bike on campus. This way he can  bike to a meeting on the other side of campus, or ride to pick up lunch at University Village.

Grover is hopeful the bikes will help students arrive at his class on time, especially when  walking from University Village.

On a recent afternoon, Grover checked out a bike and roamed the campus.

“It made me realize how bike-friendly our campus is – broad paths and car-free, really well suited for a bike share.  I was surprised by how nice the bikes are – lots of gears, easy-to-adjust seat, a little basket for storing stuff, even a bracket for holding the bike lock,” Grover said.

William Grover, assistant professor of bioengineering, shows $0 charges after riding the bike.

For Jacquelyn I. González, a graduate teaching assistant pursuing her masters in Public Policy, the bike share program and its free two-hour policy was great news.

“When I came across the Zagster station by the HUB and saw that it was free for two hours, I knew I had found the solution to my commuter problem. And with my late night classes and study sessions, it has also given me a better sense of safety in getting to my car in lot 26,” González said.

Zagster is a Massachusetts-based company that offers bike share programs to cities, businesses, and universities. The contract with Zagster runs through January 2018. After that, the program will be evaluated based on usage and interest from students, staff, and faculty members, said Laurie Sinclair, ASUCR executive director.

“The bike share program is meant to provide convenience for the campus community,” Sinclair said. “It’s also meant to encourage and inspire sustainability.”

Here is how it works:

  • Download Zagster app (iPhone or Android);
  • User must have a email address;
  • Plug in basic information and a credit card number. The card is only charged if the rider uses the bike for more than two hours or if the bike is damaged or stolen.

To sign up and find the nearest Zagster location: ASUCR Website.

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