Thursday, September 29, 2011

U.Va Bike Share Program is in the Works

NBC29 recently aired a story about U.Va developing the UBikes bike sharing program, which if implemented will be the largest University bike share program in the country.

Several cities have already implemented "third generation" bike sharing programs that allow members to reserve bikes by the half-hour or by the day.  In these systems users are typically required to join as a member by paying an annual fee.  Members are issued an access card or key fob that they use to check out bikes at strategically located stations.  In most systems the first half-hour of use is free.  Rates tend to increase the longer a user has a bike as these programs are meant to get users from point A to point B quickly so that the bike is then available for other members.  Many of these programs also feature a visitor option, so that tourists or other visitors to the area can access the system.  In this scenario a credit card is usually required to reserve the bike.

Some installations include Chicago, the Washington DC Metro Area and Montreal.  The largest existing program, VĂ©lib’ in Paris, features over 20,000 bikes and 1,200 stations.  There are also University bike share programs, including those at UC Irvine and Washington State University.

U.Va is currently conducting a feasbility study to determine the appropriate size and placement of a bike share system.  We are currently projecting a fleet of 100 bikes distributed across 13 stations, primarily centered around the McCormick Road corridor.