The University of Maryland and the city of College Park launched a new bike-sharing program known as mBike to promote a new mode of transportation.
The mayor of College Park, Patrick Wojahn, the co-founder and CEO of Zagster, Timothy Ericson, a company helping the city’s initiative and other representatives from the Department of Transportation on campus all attended the event.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony took place outside of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, on the roof of the Union Lane parking garage, as Wojahn and other representatives spoke highly of the new bike-sharing program and its benefits for the campus and the city.
“College Park is a natural candidate to have a good bike-sharing program like mBike,” said Wojahn. “There’s so many reasons why this is going to be such a game changer for our community.”
There will be about 125 bikes and 14 bike racks spread out between the campus and the city.
Wojahn said the bike-share program has been an idea in the works since 2008, but the state finally granted the university and city $375,000 in 2012.
Vice President of Student Affairs, Linda Clement, looks forward to the benefits and possibilities from mBike.
“I think this will make our campus much safer, a little bit more sustainable and I think it’s going to help our people on campus get introduced to the amenities in College Park,” said Clement.
The seven bike rack locations on campus include Regents Drive, Stamp Student Union, McKeldin Mall, South Campus Dining Hall, Eppley Station, Ritchie Station and Mowatt Lane.
Signing up to use the bikes is free, through Zagster, either online or through their app. A day pass costs $6, the monthly pass costs $25, a six-month pass costs $40 and a year pass costs $65.
Freshman psychology major Lexi Duncan thinks the bike-share program is a great idea for the campus. She looks forward to using the bikes, although she wants to wait until next semester.
“I think people will use the bikes because some people don’t like to have to take care of their own bikes and this way you can just use it and put it back,” said Duncan. “Then you also don’t have to worry about taking it home and bringing it back to school.”
According to Ericson, Zagster’s mission is “to make the bicycle one of the most loved forms of transportation.” Ericson also said bike sharing really works on college campuses, which is why their company continues to expand.
“What we’ve found around the world is that when you remove the barriers to entry to riding a bike that people actually ride, and bike sharing does that,” said Ericson. “…We believe this is a model for collaboration between universities and cities all throughout the country.”