The University is planning a potential expansion of its bike sharing program by cooperating with the township and increasing the amount of bike stations both on campus and in the community, University Director of Community and Regional Affairs Kristin Appelget said.
The bike sharing program was launched in Novemberto coincide with the opening of the new Princeton Station. The University worked to implement the program with Zagster, a company focused on providing bike-sharing solutions for its clients that has brought similar programs to over 40 other universities.
There are currently10 bikes in the covered bike parking located adjacent to Princeton Station, Appelget said.
When renting a bike for the first time, riders must sign up for an annual membership for $20. After paying the fee, riders get two hours of free bike use and then pay two dollars for every subsequent hour, according to Appelget.
She added that the program essentially provides commuters, people who are visiting the campus and general station users with easy access to bikes.
The expansion of this program is likely because the University’s municipal partners are very excited about the launch of the program, according to Appelget.
“By the end of the summer we’ll potentially be able to look at ridership numbers and hopefully we can begin planning for an expansion of the program in cooperation with the community,” Appelget said, noting that no changes have yet been made.
Appelget explained that throughout the winter months, the University was working with the Princeton municipality’s engineering department on the project. The town is drafting a grant application and preparing to submit it in the coming weeks.
“The hope is that if they’re successful in that grant application, then they would be able to establish additional bike share locations in the town that creates a network,” Appelget said, adding that the University would fund the construction of two locations in such a scenario to increase the prominence of the entire system.
Peter Yao ’16, a student mechanic at Cyclab, said that he supports the expansion of bike sharing stations both on campus and in the community.
“I think it’d be great for the students and also for the staff and faculty who might come from town to work, for them to have that option to go back and forth,” he said."I think if they do it well, a bike sharing program would probably be the best way to get around Princeton."
Yao said that when people buy bikes, they typically only use them for one or two hours a day, a waste considering that many other people may have needed them during the rest of the day. In terms of efficiency and convenience, bike sharing is the best option, Yao said.
There is only one bike sharing station in town, located at the Princeton Station, and it is primarily designated for individuals who are coming to campus by train or generally using the station, Appelget said. She added that if the University is able to partner with the town to create additional locations in the community, then a more robust bike sharing program will be formed.
“I’m very excited for this expanded programbecause these bikes are going to be available for so many more people, and they’re going to be so much more efficient for people who are trying to get to all these places,” Jason West ’18 said.