Thomas Holguin/Highlander
Thomas Holguin/Highlander

After a quarter-long delay, the university’s new bike share program has been launched and will provide students, faculty and staff the opportunity to rent a bike for free or little cost for up to a day.

The bike share program, hosted by Zagster, allows UCR community members to access its bikes through the download of its mobile application on either Apple or Android app stores. Rental of a bike is free for the first two hours, with the remainder of rental time costing $1 per hour, with a $6 day maximum.

The project was initially announced in April 2016 by ASUCR 2015-16 Vice President of Internal Affairs Michael Ervin and work was continued by Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP) Director Bryan Martinez. Originally expected to launch at the start of fall 2016, disagreements over licensing policy between Zagster and UCOP contributed to program delays.

Since the project was taken over by Martinez, difficulties were faced in terms of finding ideal bike station locations. “The locations that we worked on are kind of different from the locations we have now because there (were) just so many obstacles in regards to specific areas. Like some areas, you need to go through different organizations to get approval from and that was just gonna take too long,” Martinez explained. “It took an entire quarter to agree … and this is why this program should have been out last quarter.”

Funding for the program was provided by GCAP and UCR Transportation and Parking Services with amounts of $77,000 and $10,000, respectively. Installation of the bike stations began during winter break and involved the removal of some existing bike racks around campus.

A total of 50 bikes are available for rent, with seven7 bike stations on or around campus. The main station is located near Costo Hall, with the others being located at Lot 30, Pentland Hills, Glen Mor, Bannockburn Village, SRC and the UCR Baseball Complex. Other location options being explored include creating stations at the University Extension Center and University Village.

Zagster is a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company that builds, designs and operates bike sharing programs for universities, cities, organizations and other groups. Universities that have already implemented the Zagster bike share program include California State University, East Bay, Santa Clara University and Princeton University.

If the program is successful, Martinez hopes to expand the project to 100 bikes and to more locations around the UCR community.