Students, faculty and staff will soon have a new way of getting around campus and the downtown area. Eugene’s new bike share program launched April 19, when the shiny blue racks that have popped up around campus in the past week became filled with bikes for people to rent.
Although the bikes go active after the city’s launch ceremony on Thursday, the University of Oregon will have its own ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 24 at the station outside of the EMU on 13th Street. The event will feature demonstrations of how to operate the system, as well as guest speakers and PeaceHealth Rides swag.
The 300-bike, 35-station system, which includes 60 minutes of ride-time per day, will cost $5 a month for UO students, faculty and staff. Students, faculty and staff can also choose to pay per trip with a free 15 minutes each day. After that, it costs 10 cents a minute.
Riders must first make an account either on the PeaceHealth Rides app or online here. After that, UO Bike Program coordinator Kelsey Moore said riders only need a credit card to make an account. They will also create a pin they will use to rent a bike.
Moore said she thinks the bike share program will make a difference in students’ commute and offer a flexible alternative to walking or owning their own bikes.
“A good way to think about bike share is like taking the bus,” said Moore. “Say you’re walking to school and then you have something you want to go to downtown and you’re like, ‘Wow, it’s really nice out’ and you don’t want to hop on the bus. Instead, you just grab one of these bikes.”
Moore said she sees freshmen using the bikes as an alternative to bringing cars or their own bikes.
“Instead of owning a bike they’ll need to make sure is secure and repair, they have total access to bikes for short rides or however they want to use it, and they don’t have to store it for the year,” said Moore.
Bike share can also “complete your daily transportation” by allowing students to keep their bikes on campus or take a bike share downtown, helping them to get around even when the EMX is full.
“It’s very flexible. Since there’s about eight stations on or adjacent to campus, students, faculty and staff can ride between buildings, they can park wherever, return to stations or rent from stations — it’s going to be really flexible,” said Moore.
Announced in the fall, bike share was initially intended to be a UO-specific initiative with $200,000 in funding from ASUO. After campus planning rejected the system due to issues with security using credit cards, the City of Eugene and LTD decided to get in on the project and expand it to serve downtown and the Whiteaker neighborhood.
The bikes feature GPS tracking that not only ensures bikes aren’t stolen, but also helps riders find available bikes and reserve them on the app.
According to Moore, every day people will come and redistribute the bikes back to stations to ensure the racks are refilled.
The bikes are maintained by local employees of the bike system, JUMP Bikes. The head of the shop is a former UO Bike Program mechanic, Al Hongo.
The future for the bike share program seems to be promising, especially for students who are in a hurry to get from one part of campus to the other.
“I own a bike, but some days I walk, so I can totally see on a day I decided to walk, and I was running late for something, I would totally grab a bike,” said Moore.
This post has been edited with corrections.