At a time when universities' tuition keeps rising while they offer less value to students, at least there is one program they offer to help students keep some costs down --bicycle sharing. Ohio State University is the latest campus in the U.S. to launch a bike-share program, which will begin this summer or fall.
Bicycle sharing offers plenty of benefits to cities, companies and, in this case, a college campus: reduced carbon emissions, which more universities are now counting with increased frequency; fewer bike thefts, one bane of campus life; and more exercise to burn off those pesky dorm food carbohydrates. Plus, bicycling is a better way to get around campus instead of those janky shuttle buses.
To that end, Ohio State has chosen Zagster to run its bicycle-sharing program. The selection of Zagster over Motivate (and three other vendors) did not please everyone in Columbus, however. According to the Columbus Dispatch, some residents and leaders in the state’s capital were pushing for Ohio State to integrate with Motivate’s CoGo program in Columbus. But, at a time when everyone is watching budget line-items like a hawk and bike share programs still garner their share of skepticism, Zagster offered a cost-per-bike proposal that was less than that of Motivate. The disappointment should dissipate quickly as Columbus is already one of the more progressive “smart cities” in the Midwest; the chances are high that both programs will thrive and expand over time.
“It’s a real shot in the arm to have been selected by the Ohio State University, given the quality of the competitors,” said Tim Ericson, co-founder and CEO of Zagster. “It’s a huge opportunity to show how our simple and flexible model is a great fit for universities. And we’re really looking forward to adding a variety bikes in the mix to enable more people access to the freedom and joys of bike riding. From the start, it has been our mission to get more people on bikes, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with OSU.”
The system will start with 115 bicycles, spread across 15 stations -- some of which will be specially designed for students with special needs. Tandem, hand cycle, electric assist, heavy-duty and three-wheeled cargo bikes are among the two-wheelers that will be included in Ohio State’s bike-share program.
Zagster also operates bicycle-sharing programs at Yale University, Duke University, Princeton University, Santa Clara University and California State University, East Bay.
Image credit: Zagster
Based in Fresno, California, Leon Kaye is a business writer and strategic communications specialist. He has also been featured in The Guardian, Clean Technica, Sustainable Brands, Earth911, Inhabitat, Architect Magazine and Wired.com. When he has time, he shares his thoughts on his own site, GreenGoPost.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He's based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.