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Keep on ridin’: University of Toledo bike-sharing program set to become reality by later this spring

By Samuel Derkin
On January 29, 2014

After a two-year delay, the long-discussed University of Toledo bike share program is in its last stages, with plans set to be finalized later this week.

The most recent discussions center around “smart bike” company B-Cycle, and a proposal to place 25 new smart bikes with three docking stations on UT main campus this semester, before students leave for the summer.

Joy Seifert, director of finance and administration for auxiliary services, said UT will be deciding within the week if the Denver-based company will be the final pick for the program.

In charge of planning are Seifert and Sammy Spann, assistant provost in the Center for International Studies and Programs.

The initiative was first put forward by Student Government two years ago and then delayed due to university-wide budget cuts and extensive research.

“We have put a lot of research into this,” Spann said. “We wanted to be sure that we were choosing the right fit for the students, for the campus, not just put on a flashy show.”

UT explored several companies before deciding to pursue B-Cycle. The cost of these bikes will hopefully be sustained through advertising, Seifert said.

“Each bike has a basket on it and baskets can have walls, if you will. So instead of just a wire basket you can actually put advertising on the outside,” Seifert said.

Seifert said advertising revenue will hopefully allow UT to purchase more bikes.

The initial funds will come from various capital budgets throughout UT.

“It’s very important for people to know that this money is not coming from out of salaries or general fees,” said Spann, who also said that UT is looking into applying for grants for this initiative.

“We’re going after everything,” Spann said.

Bike repair and maintenance will be overseen by Parking Services and Auxiliary Services, and the yearly upkeep of the bikes will come out of the Parking Services operating budget.

“Parking Services is 100 percent student run, with the exception of management,” said Seifert, who said she is interested in keeping this initiative in the hands of students.

Spann said students will be kept informed as the initiative progresses.

“Every step we take, we want you to know about,” said Spann.

Seifert said she believes the impact on UT will be “amazing.”

“It will help expedite, in a green fashion, students around our campus,” she said. “If it has great success then we can expand it over to [the Health Science Campus] and Scott Park, and that is a truly exciting prospect.”

 

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