Created to encourage alternative transportation, this pilot program seeks to provide students with free and convenient bike transportation. Funded by a gift from the class of 2010 and supported by the Student Government Association and the Sustainable UMass team, the UMass Amherst campus bike share program is up and running for the 2011-2012 academic year.
Bikes were purchased from Worksman Cycles, a company based in New York that has been producing handcrafted bikes in the US for over 100 years. In addition to domestic production, Worksman Cycles has incorporated alternative energy sources into their business plan, as 25% of the energy the factory uses now comes from a large solar array on their roof. The bikes came in pieces and were assembled by the Bike Co-Op in the Student Union. UMass purchased 25 bikes from Worksman and is refurbishing an additional ten bikes that were abandoned by students and rededicated for community use.
In the program's first semester, 150 students took out bikes and reported back with enthusiastic satisfaction. With the addition of increased advertisement, there will hopefully be an increase in popularity for bike sharing this coming Spring. The program's future goals consist of adapting paperless sign-out sheets online and expansion to satillite locations. Ultimately, they want to set up stations outside residential halls for added accessability to students.
Currently, the bikes are being housed outside the Student Union and are secured to newly covered bike racks. Students may sign out bikes from the Student Government office located in room 420 of the Student Union. A student must present their UCard upon borrowing the bike and must return the bike within 24 hours. The bike share program is free and can be used by anyone with a valid UCard. Helmets and locks are provided upon bike check out.
All Bike Share program bikes meet all safety standards for the town of Amherst and can be used both on and off campus.