Bike Share

Office of Sustainability
Bike Share Programs
Business Case Proposal
February 20, 2018 (revised March 26, 2018)

This proposal examines the benefits, possible risks, and recommendations of permitting a company to operate a bike share program on Winthrop University’s campus.

• Research is showing that more students are choosing to forgo ownership of automobiles and with the costs associated with car ownership, a bike share program would provide a reasonably priced means of transportation and meet the unique needs of a university campus.
• A bike share program would benefit any person on Winthrop University’s campus including but not limited to need-based and/or first-generation students, international students, athletes, commuters, faculty, staff, and any visitor on campus for short periods of time. (Electric assist bicycles (e-bikes) and electric scooters can be added to the fleet. E-bikes may help persons who have less leg strength or persons with disabilities utilize the program.)
• A bike share will may also address a common complaint raised by commuters about the distance between parking lots and campus buildings.
• Cycling is a convenient and low impact activity that promotes a healthier lifestyle. It is also a sustainable practice that reduces the dependence on automobiles that limits time people spend sitting in vehicles while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollutants.
• Individuals are able to rent the service rather than the physical bike, i.e. people are not assigned a specific bike to use; the technology utilized by the bike share company means that a bike will be almost always be available based on the demand.

Values & Drivers
• Utilizing a bike share program as an alternative transportation option would support the Council of Student Leader’s Dedication for Excellence which recognizes “. . . the importance of environmental stewardship and will acknowledge the ecological and aesthetic consequences of my actions for future generations.”
• Providing bike share will illustrate Winthrop’s commitment to sustainability by supporting and serving as a positive example through sustainable practices. Approximately 40% of trips in the United States are two miles or less. Access to bike share would encourage more physical activity and contribute to fewer cars (personal and ride share) being used for short trips.
• A bike share program will contribute to various goals defined within The Winthrop Plan:
o Would be a program that could be highlighted as a competitive advantage when compared with other schools thus increasing enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. (1.3)
o Would be a program that supports Winthrop students and the overall Winthrop experience.
o Winthrop would join other South Carolina Universities who have added bike share programs. College of Charleston, MUSC, and Clemson each have a program that requires bikes to be docked. (USC Columbia and Furman University are utilizing a dockless bike share program.)

• Town & Gown
o A bike share program will allow students, faculty, and staff to connect with the local community and businesses without the use of automobiles. Ideally, the program on campus should complement a city wide program; using the same vender may reduce barriers a multiple venders might create. A single vender could also reduce response time to address concerns or problems with the bikes.
o Convenient transportation options to reach University Center, Downtown Rock Hill, Old Town events, restaurants, and other businesses.
o The City of Rock Hill has received a bronze certification as a bicycle friendly community by The League of American Bicyclists. Because Winthrop’s campus layout is very walkable and suitable for bicycle transit, it is the Office of Sustainability’s goal for Winthrop to become a certified bicycle friendly campus as to compliment the city’s certification. Existing dedicated bike lanes on Charlotte Avenue and “sharrows” around the Winthrop Campus on Alumni Drive and Oakland Avenue provide important cycling infrastructure for bike share operation.
o Janet Wojcik, Associate Professor of Exercise Science, has discussed with the York County Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force about the possibility of offering a bike share program. The YCBPTF is comprised of members from different sectors from City and County Planning Departments, Rock Hill Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, Higher Education (Winthrop), SC Dept of Health and Environmental Control, SC Department of Transportation, and Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Plan (RFATS) which oversees Pennies for Progress projects.
o A bike share program will complement the proposed bus system in the City of Rock Hill and will provide alternative transportation options to locations that do not have a bus stop. (The bus system is expected to begin operation summer 2019.) The bike share can complement the “last mile” transport once someone disembarks public transit.

• Establish bicycle committee to serve as oversight for bicycle and wheeled devices on campus, including the implementation and review of bike share program. Committee members shall be representatives from the following departments: the Winthrop University Police Department and Parking Services, Residence Life, Student Life and Recreational Services/West Center, Facilities Management, Council of Student Leaders, Admissions, Athletics, President’s Office, and the Office of Sustainability. Academic departments such as Physical Education, Sport, and Human Performance, and Social Works may also participate with the committee. Considerations the committee may review:
o Conduct survey to analyze the success of the bike share program.
o Review the University’s bicycle operation and parking policy and revised as required to include policies for bike share bikes. The policy along with rules of the road and bike etiquette shall be included on the bike share app for riders to review prior to renting bikes.
o Investigate the feasibility of requiring a liability waiver, something some universities are requiring from riders.
o Bike parking has been one of the key concerns raised by people reviewing the bike share program. Therefore, it is recommended that the committee overseeing wheeled devices on campus also review the locations for bike parking. Currently, bike parking is limited to the areas where bike racks are located. The committee may keep the current policy in place and/or consider expanding the rules to specifically designate no bike parking zones. For instance, a strict policy may be considered to prevent people from blocking entry doors to all buildings.

o The policy review may also investigate sidewalk right away, markings on roads, signage, etc. It may also be necessary to develop a policy about taking bicycles into buildings. It is important to remember, individuals rent the service rather than the physical bicycle.
o At some universities, the bike share companies are required to negotiate a contract that includes payment for parking spaces used by the bike share. This practice allows for a rational approach to planning a bike share program thus eliminating the possibility for a free-for-all parking culture. The revenue could also provide resources to expand or improve the bike parking areas on campus. (NOTE: Spin pulled their program from UNC Charlotte because they were unwilling to pay for the parking spaces.)
o Along with analyzing the bicycle policy, it is recommended to develop a plan that improves bike parking options. This may include evaluating bike racks and the surface where racks are located. There are also concerns that the current bike racks are not suitable for locking bikes; the design of the racks shall be evaluated. In addition, many of the racks are located in mulched ground which are uneven and may not allow the use of kickstands if the ground is soft. If these areas were hard surface, these areas would naturally lend themselves as the designated bike parking areas and improve the campus aesthetic.
o To become a certified bicycle friendly community through the League of American Bicyclists, a committee is also required to complete the extensive application. Clemson and University of South Carolina are the only two schools currently certified as a Bicycle Friendly University.
• Provide bike route maps within the app as well as printed maps available in multiple locations on campus such as resident halls, the West Center, DiGorgio Campus Center, or police station. The City of Rock Hill has a web page devoted to bicycle riding within the city. Information is provided educating the community about different types of biking, maps of various bike routes in the city and county, rules of the road, and multi-trail etiquette.
• Helmets are an important safety consideration for all bike riders. While there are no regulations against riding without a helmet, the bike share app should include information about safety equipment and helmets should be available for purchase in the bookstore.
• Develop and/or encourage students to participate in bike safety program to be held once a year that will teach student best practices of bicycling and techniques to operate bikes safely. This could possibly be done through the West Center and/or through a partnership with Rock Hill Parks, Recreation, & Tourism. Ideally, two courses would be developed. The first would be geared to first-timers covering the basics of riding bikes in an urban community and build their confidence on a bike. The second would be an advanced course to refresh experienced bicyclists about rules of the road and riding safely.
• Bike share venders shall maintain membership and fulfill the standards established by the North American Bikeshare Association. The NABSA has published a standard code of conduct that defines the association’s core values: safety, community first, cooperation, customer-focused, transparency, and equity. (NSBSA website contains resources and offers webinars to educate the public about planning and operating a bike share program.)
• Install signage at bike racks with information about the program, i.e. number of who to call to report issues or ask questions.



Bicycle Sharing System Using The Gotcha Group Bike Share
• Comporium Communication is sponsoring a hub based bike share system within the area known as Knowledge Park which includes downtown Rock Hill, University Center, and Winthrop University.
• The cost or exact length of time for the sponsorship is unknown.
• The period of time sponsorship will be in place is not known and is expected to be announced publicly April 2018.
• Comporium’s sponsorship will provide:
o Twenty-five bikes at six hubs throughout Knowledge Park service map which will include Winthrop’s Coliseum area
o Hubs are bike racks included by The Gotcha Group; smart technology is provided on bikes
o There will be a required land use agreement between Gotcha and Winthrop University
o Two four to six bike hubs will be located on Winthrop’s campus:
 Location one – Scholar’s walk near the West Center and DiGs
 Location two – to be determined but should be located central to residence halls on North campus possibly near Phelps Hall, behind Thurmond, or in front of Byrnes
o Free service to all users within Knowledge Park service map area during sponsorship period
o Fees are charged to user if he or she parks bikes outside system map or when user exceeds time limits as negotiated by sponsor and The Gotcha Group
o Use of bikes require credit/debit cards and the creation of a user account set up online or via app
• At this time, exact fees have not been determined but below are three different examples:
o UNC Chapel Hill
 Daily Plan includes one hour ride time per day for free and thirty minutes in hold time. There is a $6.oo/hour overage fee up to $24.oo maximum plus $30.oo if kept after twenty-four hours
 A Lifestyle Plan offers a $30.oo per year membership fee for UNC and hospital affiliates and the ride time is two hours per day free and 60 minutes in hold time. There is a $4.oo/hour overage fee up to $24.oo maximum plus $30.oo if kept after twenty-four hours.
 No sign-up fee, four hours of daily free time, and $4.oo / hour overage fee
 $2.oo credit for returning bikes to hubs
 $4.oo fee for returning bike outside of a hub or dedicated rack within system area
 $50.oo feed for returning bike outside system area
 $20.oo maximum charge for riding time per bike
 Only one bike may be reserved and/or checked out at a time; two hour maximum hold period; prices do not include sales tax.
o MUSC Holy Spokes
 Pay as You Go - $8.00 per hour, 24/7 access
 Day Pass - $12.oo for 24 hours of unlimited ride time, 24/7 access
 Monthly - $15.oo per month of 24/7 access, 30 minutes’ free ride time per day
 Annual - $69.oo per year for 24/7 access, 60 minutes’ free ride time per day
 Out-of-System Fee: $50 fee for locking outside the Holy Spokes system area
 Out-of-Hub Fees: $5 fee for locking outside a Holy Spokes station


• Gotcha Bike’s app is powered by SoBi
o GPS Tracking provides wireless connectivity and real-time data
o Users can register, reserve, ride, and return bikes using their smartphone or computer
o To end trip/ride, user locks bike at one of the regular bike racks within the system map
o Each Gotcha Bike is equipped with a robust U-Bar lock that is used to lock bike to hub
o Users must establish an account to allow payment for use outside Knowledge Park service area
o Safety information and rules are included within the app and online – obey traffic laws and signs; ride with flow of traffic; stay off sidewalks; wear a helmet; signal when turning; and, yield to pedestrians
• Bikes features
o Three speed bike is lightweight aluminum frame with puncture proof tires, belt drive, hand and coaster breaks, kevlar seat, and branded basket with front safety light
o Smart technology consists of real-time GPS/Accelerometer, RFID/NFC reader, LCD screen and keypad, integrated rear safety light, and battery charged with solar and during ride
• Maintenance and Repairs
o Gotcha establishes turnkey partnership with local bike shop to service bikes
o Dedicated fleet management and rider support ensure a successful bike share program
o Maintenance issues can be reported directly from the bike
• The Gotcha Group is based in Charleston SC and provides a customizable, smart bike share program for universities and cities offering both dockless or hub based bike share systems only available via sponsorships
• Winthrop has proposed conducting survey during the academic year of 18/19 to assess user reactions to the Gotcha bike share system and gage support for an expanded bike share program