Red Bike Program may lose its wheels

By | April 15, 2012 | News (2)

Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

The Red Bike Program is a campus organization that offers students new and used bikes at an affordable rate. However, due to the low number of students who actually utilize the program, it might get cut from campus.

“The program takes a great deal of man power to run,” said parking administrator Amy Armstrong. “It would be more beneficial to redirect the department’s resources into programs that can benefit a larger student population.”

The rental fees of the bikes and revenue generated from parking citations have been the sole supporters of the program. Since there is not a big enough portion of the student population participating in Red Bike, the program could possibly be in its last semester.

An average of 70 students go through Red Bike per semester. With student population eclipsing 20,000, Red Bike users make up an extremely small portion. The students that do use it benefit from the program each semester and avoid the increasing fees others pay for gas and parking.

“The Red Bike Program was started to support students riding their bike to campus,” Armstrong said.

The bikes that are provided via Red Bike are maintained and repaired by Traffic Operations personnel. By using a bike as transportation to and from school, the hassles of finding parking are alleviated. In addition, students who ride their bike do not have to worry about parking passes or tickets.

“It was important to make the program affordable to students,” Armstrong said. “Bikes are made available for students to rent, with a deposit.”

Students can rent new bikes with a deposit of $55 the first semester, and $5 for each additional semester. It also offers bikes that are reconditioned for a $20 deposit.

Included in the rental fee, Red Bike offers any type of maintenance necessary for the bike. The low costs are not only beneficial to the renter’s pockets, but to the environmental health as well.

If the program ultimately ceases to exist, Armstrong said it will have very little financial impact on the budget.

The newly elected Associated Students, Inc. Vice President of External Affairs Sean Kiernan said if the program does get cut, he hopes to work with the University Police Department to find ways that students can still benefit from the funds being used from parking citations.

“That money could be used to subsidize iron U-locks that are much more secure,” Kiernan said.

As of right now it is still in debate whether or not the program will be cut. The decision will be finalized by the end of this semester.

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One Response to Red Bike Program may lose its wheels

  1. Pao says:

    I believe the red bike program can be benefitial to a large portion of the student population. I feel that the problem is it is not publicized enough. I have asked random students in the past if they knew about the red bike program and a majority of them had no clue they could rent a bike each semester for such a cheap price with cost-free maintenance. I feel that the program can most benefits students who live closer to campus because it is not the easiest thing to transport a bike daily from further away off campus. Riding from further away can be time consuming for most students. Students in dorms or apartments nearby can easily ride into campus in a matter of minutes and avoid being late.
    If the program does ceases to exist and it’s financial impact on the budget will not be significant, I feel it will be a much better alternative to rejuvenize the program so more people will use it rather than figuring out a new program to use the funds for. Such ways can be to make the campus more bike friendly by having more bike racks placed closer to classes and more of the red bike repair stands located strategically around campus for ease of use.  More newer bikes would entice students to want to rent the bikes also.
    And about the idea of using the funds “to subsidize iron U-locks that are much more secure,” I do like the alternative idea, I just don’t think we should eliminate the red bike program and replace it with this idea. Students who cannot afford a bike can now get a u-lock but not have a bike, and students who travel further off campus who do not bring bikes will have no use for a u-lock, and students who already have u-locks do not benefit much from this idea, the targeted population is smaller than the red bike program. Please keep in mind this is just my opinions from reading the article.

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