Orange bikes will appear across campus in upcoming days as the USG expands a bike-sharing program that launched yesterday at Forbes.
The program, called U-Bikes, will attempt to improve travel across campus by placing bikes in convenient locations where students can pick them up as needed.
Residents of Forbes who sign up for U-Bikes will be issued keys that fit the locks of every shared bike and will then have access to the bikes as they need them, so long as the machines are locked to a rack afterward. Members will pay a fee of $5 per semester plus a $50 refundable key deposit.
Will Fisher '10, who worked on the project with the USG, is an avid bicyclist who said the primary objective of U-Bikes is to make biking on campus easier. "A lot of people bring bikes and end up walking," he said. "That's the gap we're trying to fill."
U-Bikes' customers will not be responsible for the maintenance of the shared bikes. Membership fees will fund an on-campus bike repair facility with staff that will occasionally check all bikes in the program for damage and will respond to any damage reports from customers.
When it was first announced last semester, U-Bikes was to be free for the entire campus community. "Ideally we would have liked to have [U-Bikes] as a school-wide program," USG vice president Josh Weinstein '09 said, but finding enough bikes proved difficult.
Public Safety provides the program with bicycles that have been abandoned on campus. They are then refurbished before being distributed across campus. At this time, however, only about 30 bikes are available. Weinstein said that he realized that a campus-wide program would "dilute our resources" and thus decrease its effectiveness.
The pilot program is restricted to Forbes residents, who were chosen because of the residential college's distance from other campus buildings. Roby Sobieski '10, chair of the Forbes College Council, made the case that Forbes would benefit most from bike sharing.
"U-Bikes at Forbes is a really good idea," he said. "I did crew all of last year, and I got tired of walking all the way to the boathouse."
Other Forbesians echoed Sobieski's positivity.
"I'm an engineer, and I use my bike when I'm going everywhere; it takes a fifth of the time," Sarah Wellons '11 said. Though she has her own bike, she thinks that U-Bikes will be beneficial to "someone who isn't able to bring a bike."
William Buchanan '10, who signed up for U-Bikes at yesterday's launch, also looked forward to the time savings from riding a bike. Buchanan said the bikes would be particularly useful "for early morning classes [and to] save a lot of time for sleep."
If U-Bikes proves popular at Forbes, Weinstein said he hopes the University will be able to help the USG expand the program. The program has already received a grant of $2,000 from Princeton Students United for a Responsible Global Environment to start U-Bikes.
But, Weinstein added, a campus-wide program would require "more money, more resources and more administrative help," and the University would be best able to fill those needs.
Reader Comments (0)
No comments yet. Be the first to post your opinion on this article.