What's up, BUB?

So has anyone used the new Blue Urban Bikes yet?

For a $10 annual membership fee, riders can rent one and roll out for up to 24 hours.

"For people used to driving everywhere, this is an easy, cheap introduction to public transportation," said Chris Richmond of the ReCYCLEry, an amateur mechanics collective that will maintain the fleet.

The ReCYCLEry runs the bike-loan project with the Carrboro-based environmental group SURGE, which stands for Students United for a Responsible Global Environment.

Similar initiatives have cropped up in other college towns such as Davidson -- home of Davidson College -- Austin, Texas, and near Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.
- chapelhillnews.com | Cup of java and a bike to go, please

Issues: 

Total votes: 159

Comments

Wayne,
For once I think we agree. Unless you happen to live close to the blue-bike hub and used to drive to campus, this program will probably draw bus riders and walkers.

Yea, I agree that it could work on campus, but even then I think it would merely displace walking or free bus use.

Wayne

I think it could work pretty well on campus, but the two locations they've chosen seem odd. I don't think there's enough foot traffic in either to support it. However, I would love to be wrong. Either way, this does add something to transportation options in CH.

I don't understand who the target audience is supposed to be. Presumably it is people who don't own a bike but would use one if they had access to one. These people are supposed to then walk or drive to a blue bike rack, use a bike for the final part of their trip or for ancillary trips, and then return the bike to the rack. I can't see it happening.

Used bikes are a dime a dozen and its much more convenient to own your own.

Wayne

i would totally pay $10 a year for this, but:

1. I just bought a bike a few months ago.

2. I would need to keep it at or near my home for it to be useful. Perhaps a group of neighborbors could pool resources and share a few of these?

Seems too comlicated to me.

I think $10 a year is very reasonable. It will make people "invested" in the program, probably use it more, and take better care of the bikes. I don't know if we have enough of a critical mass to make the program work, but it won't be the $10 fee that makes it go belly up.

Oops, signed in under the wrong name.

Also, just to clarify. I mistakenly thought the $10 was per visit. Not per year. I have no problem with $10 per year except that it means you have to check in and check out from a common facility.

Christian,
I tend to agree that $10 is a bit much. Although I can find no mention of it now, when I was at the University of Florida they started a similar program. Seems it went belly-up as well. I do think it could work in CH because of the fact it is so small. A large set of bikes, free of charge, would probably make the program more reliable for folks than it is anywhere else. Also, I seem to remember at least one of these other programs was a "drop it anywhere" kind of thing. Again, you would need a huge number of bikes to make this work.

I think the project is faulted. This is a town of only 50,000 people and it costs a nonrefundable $10? While noble, the numbers just are not there. I don't think the recyclery did their homework.

Look at the "other college towns";
Austin 700,000 people http://www.austinyellowbike.org/ note that the bikes are FREE FOR ANYONE.

Atlanta 480,000 (but I think you meant Decatur) ( http://www.dybikes.org/) a smaller suburb of Atlanta but alas the program is CLOSED. ( http://www.dybikes.org/news.htm )

The Davison project is only for university students and is FREE as well. ( http://www2.davidson.edu/news/news_archives/archives01/01.02redbikes.html )

It's interesting to see the cynicism and lack of positive feelings in such a liberal forum...  I just happened to see this thread on the random sidebar and figured i'd give some background and an update.

At start-up, it was ambitious and driven to fruition by just a couple of very motivated people who made convincing arguments and did what they had to do to get it up and running.  The ten dollars per YEAR goes towards lights, helmets, and hub setup.  All repairs are done voluntarily.  In addition, I suspect that an annual fee setup helped sell the possibility of self-sufficiency as grants were being requested from our community government. 

Of course any start-up is difficult and BUB had to be particularly modest considering the low budget.  Now, almost 2 years later, BUB and the ReCYCLEry received an award at RTP Headquarter's luncheon and award ceremony celebrating the achievements of this year's transportation demand management programs throughout the triangle.

There are 8 BUB Hubs now, from Eastgate to the MLK YMCA and into Carrboro.  Discussions are ongoing with Wellspring, 3 campus locations, and hopefully in Meadowmont.  Rumor has it that a possible partnership with gotriangle could  potentially target bus stops.

Personally it has served me very well, such as when I attend Basketball games.  Until recently, i've lived outside of town and it was nice to park and pick up a bike.

I don't have numbers on usage, but now that gas is so expensive perhaps folks will be a bit less cynical and more apt to hop on board.

 

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