Article and Photo from the Windsor Star
By: Craig Pearson, Windsor Star
Published on: July 22, 2016
University of Windsor students will share more than classes this fall, they’ll also share bikes.
And the City of Windsor may later implement a similar program in the city core — where you use a credit card to rent a bike for a ride and drop it off at another participating bike rack elsewhere.
“It’s not meant to be a means of transportation which students or faculty depend on to go to school,” University of Windsor Students’ Alliance president Moussa Hamadani said Friday.
“It’s more for recreational use, to foster a eco-friendly environment on campus. We want to add something new to our campus, and hopefully to the community at large.”
The UWSA, which pushed for the plan, has partnered with university administration as well as U.S. bike-share company Zagster for a two-year pilot project featuring 40 bikes. The Windsor program will be called Ubike Share, with bike stations set up in a number of places, including downtown, the CAW Student centre, the human kinetics building on College Avenue, and the law building.
Hamadani said the student union has yet to decide the rental cost, though he predicted a “nominal” fee for students.
Ubike Share is part of a greater strategy at the university to promote green transportation. Students voted in a March referendum to support a subsidized bus-pass system. So also starting in the fall is Upass, which allows students to purchase a Transit Windsor bus pass for $132 a year, compared to the general price of $66 a month.
Meanwhile, the city’s transportation committee this week deferred a debate on a greater bike-sharing program downtown so that it could discuss a possible partnership with the University of Windsor.
Coun. Chris Holt, a cycling enthusiast, loves the idea of bike sharing.
“It’s another piece of the puzzle when it comes to our public transportation system,” he said. “It’s what transportation planners call the last mile. It’s transportation to and from bus stops.”
Holt said bike sharing promotes healthy living and a cleaner environment — and can be fun.
“It’s really beneficial to downtown dwellers who live in an apartment building and don’t bring bikes up and down the elevator,” Holt said. “It encourages alternative transportation in the city.
“And tourists absolutely adore it. We have one of the most beautiful waterfronts in North America, so riding along there is great.”
Other than some start-up costs, such as pouring concrete to build bike-share stations, Holt thinks such programs can be revenue-neutral to the city. He said the city would not run a ride-share program. Instead, the operation would be left either to a non-profit or for-profit organization.
He hopes a report comes back to the transportation committee by next month, so that the issue can make it to budget deliberations at the end of the year.
“Even if it was the city taking it on, I think it’s a valuable exercise to investigate,” he said. “It really fits into our mission statement.”
Pros and cons
Advantages and disadvantages of bike sharing:
Pros — reducing vehicle emissions; convenience; promoting better health; fun.
Cons — less experienced bikers sometimes use the service; no helmets.