Texas A&M Transportation Services has partnered with a bike share company, ofo, to provide more than 500 station-free yellow bikes.
The university says that encouraging bicycle riding on the College Station, Texas, campus has been a long-standing goal for Transportation Services; in 2015 Texas A&M’s was designated as a “bicycle friendly” university (BFU) by the League of American Bicyclists.
“We are excited about collaborating with ofo and the opportunity this partnership brings to the Texas A&M campus,” says Peter Lange, associate vice president of Transportation Services at Texas A&M. “With the continued growth of our community, we are always evaluating new innovations for modes of travel and the station-free bike share system offers the reliability and ease of access that we want to provide for our customers."
Station-free bike sharing empowers riders to place bikes in racks where they need them the most, without the restriction of having to dock the bikes in a designated station.
“Students riding bikes around campus isn’t new, but what is unique about ofo and its innovative model is that these bikes are shared among riders and can be parked in any on-campus bike rack, removing the need for personal bikes and docking stations that take up space," says said Alternative Transportation Services Manager Ron Steedly. "This model saves money students would have spent on purchasing and maintaining their own bikes.
Riders use a mobile app to find a bike. The app shows riders all the bikes available near them; once a bike is chosen, a user taps "unlock" on the app and scans the bike's barcode to unlock it. After reaching their destination, riders park the bike anywhere on campus at a bike rack and manually lock it.
The bike locking technology also includes a touch keypad, which enables users who don't have smartphones to use the service.