North Texas Daily

Bike sharing may soon be campus-wide

Bike sharing may soon be campus-wide

Bike sharing may soon be campus-wide
January 29
10:46 2014

Tricia Sims // Intern Writer

With bike sharing already active at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science and the UNT Health Science Center, it seems UNT is drawing closer to a possible expansion for school-wide use.

“I think UNT is already paving the way,” said Reagan Redd, international studies senior and TAMS program adviser. “They realize a lot of students ride bikes to campus and they are starting to pave the way toward being more bike friendly.”

TAMS had about 500 people check out the four available bikes from January to May through Naturally – a TAMS environmental club. The 10 bikes at the UNT Health Science Center have been shared more than 1,000 times since April. TAMS did not have information compiled yet for the past semester.

“Over the summer I wrote up a proposal asking for grant money to expand the program and add more bikes, plus we were also having maintenance problems,” said Sanjana Reddy, publicist for Naturally and a TAMS sophomore. “Basically, we had the foundation laid for us and we are just trying to keep it running, smooth it out a little bit.”

The We Mean Green Fund – a $5 fee per semester to fund environmental projects –  granted TAMS 10 new bikes, a bike rack behind the building and new equipment.

“We are just kind of testing the waters with a bike sharing program. UNT has never had one before,” Reddy said. “Hopefully this can spread to other halls at UNT.”

TAMS juniors are not allowed to bring cars, so bikes are an important means of transportation.

The bikes are checked out in the front desk just like pool or closet keys and can be used for 4 to 6 hours.

“My roommate and I actually use it a lot of the time to go out and get food or go to Sack ‘n Save if it is cold outside,” Reddy said.

Studies found that when people are out on their bicycles instead of in their cars, they become more invested and involved in their community.

“The Health Science Center’s mission statement is to provide solutions to healthier communities, so having bike sharing on campus is a natural fit,” said Amy Buresh, market and creative services director for UNTHSC. “Not only does it provide a healthier transportation and exercise for our students and employees but it also is a part of contributing to the healthier lifestyle and environment.”

Employees and students at the center get a discount on the annual membership pass at $60 instead of $80.

“You basically have unlimited use of the bikes for up to 60 minutes,” Buresh said. “So if you rent a bike and return it to another station within an hour then you don’t pay anything but your annual monthly membership cost. And if you do not have a membership and you were just going to use the bike for a day, then you just go pay with your credit card and it’s $8 to have a one-day pass to use the bike.”

The program is ranked 22 out of the 34 stations using the Fort Worth bike-sharing program. They talked about putting a second station on campus early on when we were first getting a bike share station, but there haven’t been any more conversations about that.

“That is definitely something we will look at in the future,” Buresh said. “The Fort Worth bike sharing as a whole, though, is always expanding. I have seen the UNT bikes all over downtown, spreading throughout the network.”

In a few years’ time, the UNT campus in Denton may have bikes zooming around with programs like TAMS and the Health Science Center expanding.

“I like taking my bike places, it makes you stop and appreciate the town around you,” Redd said. “It’s good to be able to give that to the TAMS students, hopefully one day all of UNT.”

Feature photo: International studies senior Reagan Redd fixes a bike wheel with TAMS sophomore Sanjana Reddy in the bike repair room in McConnell Hall on Jan. 23. Photo by Trevor Garza / Intern Photographer     

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