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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Bike share program delayed, project completion expected in late October

<ssed via referendum last winter, the CSA Student Projects Committee bike share program was slated to be operational at the beginning of the academic year. However, due to delays with the contracting company, Zagster, the implementation of the bike share program has been delayed until the end of October.

“The reason for the delay was a policy issue with Zagster. They want us to ask students for their credit card information, not to charge them, but just to have something on hold if something were to happen to a bike. We wanted them to fix their app for us, because we wanted it to seem like it was a paid service,” said Jen Chan ’19, CSA Treasurer and Chair of the Student Projects Committee.

“Unfortunately, Zagster is a very big company, and we are a very small client,” said Calypso Leonard ’19, the newly hired Student Projects Coordinator. “Part of the setup for their actual app requires the input of some kind of payment card. It can be credit or debit card, and we recognize that that’s limiting.”

Once the bike share is implemented, student users will create an account with Zagster using their Carleton-domain email address, and be required to enter financial information, according to Chan. Leonard assures that the service for Carleton students is completely free, and the information is solely for the purpose of imposing late fees.

“Essentially, the credit card information is just for fees. Using the bike share at all, as long as you’re using it within the rules, is completely free. There are some late fees, the same as library rental books,” said Leonard.
However, Leonard stated that students would not be penalized if a bike was stolen or damaged. “If a bike goes missing and you report it, that’s a very different thing. Zagster has a very extensive customer service component, so if you call them and report an issue, they are usually quite accommodating. All of the research we’ve seen from other universities shows they’re pretty accommodating,” said Leonard.

The bikes have rental periods of four hours, and bikes not returned after that period will be subject to a late fee. The fee is capped at around twenty-five dollars, but will “hopefully be just enough to deter students,” said Chan.

“We’re still working with Zagster trying to find a solution. One possible solution that is not necessarily going to happen, is getting a Carleton credit card for students who don’t feel comfortable putting in their own financial information. It’s not clear whether or not that is plausible, but we’re still talking with Zagster,” said Leonard.
Ten bikes will be placed at two racks located at Sayles and the Rec Center, according to Chan. Students will input a code to unlock the bike, but a smartphone is not necessary to use the program.

“Zagster has an app and that’s the easiest way to use the bikes, but they do also have a system where you can text a particular number and receive the code to unlock the bike,” said Leonard.

At the end of the year, CSA will conduct a survey to measure the success of the program, and reevaluate its demand on campus.

“I definitely think it’s a good size for the pilot program,” Leonard added, “and I’m hoping that it is not overrun, but theoretically it’s a pilot program, so if this is something that’s really popular, and we can get more student support for more funding for it moving forward, then we can certainly talk about getting another station.”
The program’s original purpose and cost has not been altered by the delay, and will stay within the budgeted $54,000 fund.

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