Thursday, June 5, 2008

Race to Be First University Program in U.S.

With the race to be the first American city with a 3rd generation bike-sharing program pretty much settled on Washington, D.C., the race to be the first American university is still open to takers. Readers of The Bike-sharing Blog will know that The University of Washington in Seattle is planning to launch a program this fall, however, Saint Xavier University in Chicago is hoping to beat them to it.

According to their press release:

"Chicago (May 9, 2008) Saint Xavier University students, faculty and staff will have the option of a self-service bike sharing program beginning next semester.

"Over the summer, the University will install the SXU Green Bike Program, providing 65 European pedal bikes that can be automatically checked out 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a Cougar card and returned to any of several computerized docking stations around campus. The first 15 minutes between docking stations will be free, and patrons can use cell phone technology to more easily arrange for a bike.

"Many universities across the country offer some form of sharing program, but Saint Xavier will be the first to use the shaft-driven bikes from the French company Veloway, Europe’s premier bike share distributor. More information will follow this summer.

" 'The SXU Green Bike Program will be a remarkable addition to this campus,' said Assistant Vice President for Physical Facilities Paul Matthews. 'This latest in a long line of green activities at Saint Xavier will allow students, faculty and staff to forego their fuel-burning vehicles and travel campus in a clean and sustainable way.' "

Bike-sharing at universities makes as much sense as breathing fresh air. The transportation budgets of universities for the most part focuses too greatly on the provision of parking spaces. At around $20,000 to build a parking space according to a study by George Mason University, it seems that not constructing as few as 15 parking spaces and reallocating these funds to a bike-sharing program would better serve a university community by improving mobility.

image credit: Saint Xavier University


Anonymous said...

Wow, I had to look up where this is (far southwest suburbs) as I'd never heard of the university! But well done, our city. Nice to hear. :)

jcwinnie said...

I had thought that the University of Washington already was the first?

Paul DeMaio said...

Nope. Both programs are set to launch in Fall 2008.

Anonymous said...

New York University will also launch a bike-share program for the 2008-2009 academic year.

Paul DeMaio said...

Cindi, please share info about NYU's program.

Anonymous said...

Veolia system (operating in the UK as since 2004) is part of a greater package by this Transit systems operator (and Paul will probably confirm that all the third generation systems are backed by transit operators (as yet no US transit operator is licensing or buying in to a system - Caltrain seriosuly needs to) .

Not sure who is signed up for U Dub and NYC scheme, but would be very interested to learn, They can presumably make this an extension of U-Pass

The Call-a Bike and OYBike systems use mobile phone 'wallets' which measn the subscriber can use any bikes in any city with the scheme, some of the card operated systems are dedicated - Paris subscribers cannot use Lyon bikes, etc, although ITSO compatability should be built in to any new or developing system.

Anonymous said...

UMKC is currently organizing a similar program.

Carolyn said...

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee has a semester renting program already in place for several years and right now is looking at doing a daily rental program as well starting next year.