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The Carletonian

Bike share program to be rolled out by August

<nd the Student Activities Office (SAO) hope to have the bike share program up and running by August. A student worker will be hired to oversee implementation in the coming summer.

The bike share program is a Student Projects Committee (SPC) proposal that passed as a referendum in the winter term CSA elections.
The program became official on Friday, March 3 when the college signed a one-year contract with Zagster, the third-party company involved in the program. Although the contract is for one year, the project is expected to undergo a three-year pilot. Annual renewal gives the college an opportunity to reassess its partnership with Zagster, explained Ana Sontag, Assistant Director of Student Activities, at the Monday, April 10 CSA meeting.

To implement the bike share, a student worker will take on program logistics. Lee Clark, Director of Student Activities, is uncertain about the day-to-day duties of the student worker, but he said that generally, the student will communicate with Zagster about rack installation, maintenance tasks and anything else that comes up.

For instance, over the summer, Facilities will install two 24-foot long Zagster racks in front of Sayles and the Rec Center for the 10 bike-share bicycles. The student worker and SAO will need to work with Facilities regarding potential relocation of existing racks and about where to pour concrete for the Zagster racks.

During the academic year, this student would communicate with Zagster, SAO, CSA, the student body and repair providers, according to Eavan Donovan ’19, the SPC member who proposed the bike share program.

Clark went on to say, “It’s not just a matter of getting bikes and saying all is good. It’s going to be something that requires weekly, if not daily, communication. So my hope is that we can come up with some sort of symbiotic relationship between the SAO and the students that want to run it so it’s a success.”

In order to hire a student worker for the bike share program, CSA must change its bylaws. The Senate is currently putting the position through its bylaws, according to Jen Chan ’19, CSA Treasurer and SPC chair. CSA has also spoken to ResLife about summer housing for the worker and to the Student Employment office about putting the position on their website. Chan said it should be online within the week.

The bike share implementation hinges on filling the student worker position. As Clark pointed out, the steps to get the program off the ground are clear and feasible, but involve conversation between the college and Zagster. For instance, if a bike has a flat tire, its brakes malfunction or it gets abandoned downtown, someone on campus will have to communicate with Zagster. “All this takes interaction between us and them,” Clark said. “And right now we’re trying to define who exactly ‘us’ is.”

Clark hopes that CSA fills the position soon. “Zagster is ready to go. We’re just not going to have anything shipped until we have a place for it to go and someone to run it,” he said.

In addition to hiring a student worker, Clark is looking into bicycle repair. Zagster covers bike repairs by contracting separately with a local business.

SAO is deciding whether to interview various companies or simply recommend Downtown Bicycles, which is located on Division Street, according to Clark.

SPC and SAO are focusing on making sure students, especially incoming freshmen, know about the bike-share program.

This way they would be less likely to contribute to bike clutter by bringing a bike from home that they would rarely use, according to Clark
Promotion of the program will be an important part of the student worker’s job, according to Chan. She pointed out that a potential setback could be if “people on campus wouldn’t be open to the idea and thus wouldn’t use it, and for that reason, it wouldn’t kick off.”

Similarly, Donovan said, “Getting the word out to students—new students in particular—is the biggest challenge.

“We want this program to be a success, so once it’s on the ground and running we hope that students will know enough about the program to check out and enjoy the bikes.”

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