Companies Invited to Offer Proposals for Bike-Share Program

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio – Bike-friendly Athens, OH could be even friendlier by the end of the Spring semester as the Ohio University Student Senate solicits companies to operate a bike-share program here.

The Student Senate has been working on ways to decrease the amount of time for students to make it across campus. The bike-share program could be an environmentally friendly answer to that problem.

In addition to reduced travel time across campus, Landen Lama, President of the OU Student Senate, said his goals for a bike-share program would be to help the university reduce its carbon footprint and make students less dependent on cars.

Landen Lama, Student Senate Pres

Lama, who has been leading the effort, said he hopes to select a bike company by the time he graduates in May. Although the Student Senate has been in contact with a number of companies, he said they are still searching for the best offer that benefits Ohio University.


Question: How often do you expect to participate in the bike-share program?


In a survey conducted by the Student Senate, students indicated they’d like the bikes to be accessed all over campus. Lama is in favor of using bike racks already located on campus in addition to creating specific stations for the bikes.

“We don’t know exactly where everything will be because companies will give us their project model,” he said. “It will either be that they sell stationless bikes, so you can put your bike wherever, or some will some say you will have to have our bike racks for that type of bike, so we really don’t know what that’s going to look like.”

And the program may be made available to non-students.

Bikes on a bike rack. At the bottom of Baker.

In addition to coordinating with the university to pick a bike company and select locations for the bikes, Lama is working with Associate Vice President for University Planning Shawna Bolin, and Sam Crowl of the Office of Sustainability on a fee structure for those using the bikes.

While students widely indicated they would use a free bike-sharing program, they were less enthusiastic about paying to pedal.

In the Student Senate survey, 78 percent of those responding said they would participate in a free bike-share program, but that number dropped to 47 percent if students had to pay even a small fee. Although Lama said he doesn’t want students to pay for the program, the most likely model would involve a fee.

“Right now were in very preliminary stages of looking at things such as funding models. So we are going to reach out officially to bike-share systems to give us their ideas about how that would work at Ohio university,” he said. “At that point part of that proposal they submit would be how they’re going to fund the system. It would be great if they were able to do it through sponsorship and through the fees that an individual accepts for registering in the system.”

Lama said once the  Request for Information  is launched, companies will send in business models for review.

“But as long as we get a company, it’s a win for the university and it’s a win for senate,” he said.