The Blue Bike program is the easy-to-use on-campus bike rental at Queens. It provides students and staff increased independence, a means to explore the area and a healthy alternative to driving around the Queen City.
The fleet of six hybrid bikes, chosen for their versatility, is located in the back of the South parking deck. Users can rent a bike, complete with lock and helmet, by visiting the Levine Center front desk. The first three hours of each rental are free; each additional hour costs $5. The bikes come equipped with baskets. Patrick Motter, the Director of Campus Recreation, says the bikes are useful for running errands, but are not designed for racing or trail riding.
The idea for the program began in 2012 when the city of Charlotte was implementing its bicycle sharing program run by B’Cycle. Motter contacted B’Cycle to determine what it would take to have a station for Queens.
“The initial $60,000 cost to work with B’Cycle was not fiscally responsible,” Motter explained.
Despite an initial lack of funds, the campus recreation team conducted surveys to measure the interest in Blue Bikes. The response was an “overwhelming yes” to the idea.
With a designated startup cost of $2,200 to purchase all essential equipment, Motter decided that Blue Bikes would be cost effective. Now, he considers the investment a success.
In the first month of the program, over 200 people rented bicycles, Motter said. In the first week of the 2014 fall semester, 27 students took a Blue Bike for a spin.
“Dean Downey, my dean, has already asked when we’ll get more bikes,” said Motter.
Downey is not the only staff member excited about this new mode of transportation.
Chelsea Boham, assistant director of admissions, has not only used the bikes a couple times herself, but she has used them to entice prospective students.
“All of the students I speak with are from out of state,” she said. “It is nice to have modes of transportation outside of walking and the bus. Having the helmet and lock means that you can ride to a location and back, not just ride around.”
Based on the hundreds of staff and students riding Blue Bikes, the program is here to stay.
“We’d like to have more education on things like how to lock the bikes and what to check when you take a bike out,” Patrick Motter explained. “We’ll monitor usage and possibly add bikes in the spring.”