UA Launches Bicycle-Sharing Program
A new program at the University of Arizona is adding to the institution's repertoire of alternative transportation options.
Parking and Transportation Services has initiated the Cat Wheels Bike Share Program, offering 10 bicycles for University staff, faculty and students to borrow at will.Â
Bill Davidson, the marketing specialist for PTS, said the program began in early November and has seen a steady increase in usage.
"It's been a mixture of students and staff, so we are pleased at how it is going so far," Davidson said. "As demand increases, we'll look into adding additional bikes."Â
The single-speed cruisers are located at the Tyndall Avenue Garage and the Sixth Street Garage, near the cashier booths.Â
This is how it works:
- UA employees and students who are at least 18 years old present a valid CatCard and a student or employee identification number.
- Individuals sign a user agreement form each time a bicycle is borrowed. The agreement is accessible via the Web or at the cashier window.
- Bicycles may be borrowed for no more than day and returned by no later than 4 p.m. on the following workday. Bicycles checked out on Friday are due on the following Monday by 4 p.m. Late users will be assessed $10 fee each day â€“ up to the cost of replacing the bicycle â€“ and will be reported to the University of Arizona Police Department if not turned in after seven days.
- Bicycles may be checked out from either location Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Rentals are not available during the UA's holiday closures.
- Each bicycle is equipped with a U-lock and key, which must be returned along with the bicycle. Each garage has five bikes â€“ three of them are models for men; two are models for women.Â
- Bicycles must be returned to the same location.
- Parking and Transportation recommends that bicycle users wear helmets.
"Bike sharing has gained popularity nationwide as part of a movement to encourage alternative modes of transportation, especially on campus," Davidson said.
Northern Arizona University, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of California, Irvine, are among the higher education institutions in the United States to offer bike-sharing programs.Â
Andrew Bates opted to use the program for a two-week period when his bicycle, his primary mode of transportation, was not operating properly.
Bates said the program was easy to use, and hugely convenient and now encourages UA employees and students to use the program.
"I need a bike for everything that I do. And the program is easy as can be," said Bates, a UA senior majoring in music performance. "You fill out four lines on a piece of paper and they give you the keys to the bike."Â
Bates used the bicycle to get around campus, to visit friends, to do grocery shopping â€“ just about everything, he said.
One unique feature about the program, Bates said, is that it is open only to UA employees and students, unlike other programs around the nation and internationally.Â
"Overall, I think it's a good program and it is a positive program," he said. "I wish more UA staff and students would use it."Â
Parking and Transportation has spent one month informing the campus community about the new program. Also, to promote bicycle use, the University also has installed bicycle lockers and additional bicycle racks on campus.
"We are, at the same time, trying to reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicles on campus," Davidson said.
"It's important to have bike sharing," he added. "It provides a way for our students and employees to take care of short-range commutes while on campus, and it is environmentally pleasing â€“ and free as well."