As students pack up for their arrival on campus, they can, if they choose, leave their bicycles at home—and still get around campus on two wheels. Starting this fall, Dartmouth is partnering with the bike-share company Zagster to make 50 cruiser bikes available at eight strategic locations, including Sachem Village. The bikes will be available to all members of the Dartmouth community. The aim is to get bicycles into the hands of people when and where they need local transportation, making it easy to leave their cars behind.
Here’s how it works: Starting in early September, this point-to-point program will allow riders to use the Zagster app to open the lockbox for the bike they want. After the rider returns the bike to any bike station, the rental ends and the bike is available for the next person to use. Program organizers will be at the Sept. 6 Orientation EXPO for incoming students to share information and register riders. Registering for the bike share program can also be done using a Zagster website that will be activated Sept. 6.
There are two membership options: a $6 daily membership and a $20 annual membership. Both allow riders unlimited bike rentals for up to one hour (three hours on a weekend day). After that, rentals will cost $3 per hour, or $24 for a 24-hour rental.
The bike stations will be located near Channing Cox Hall in River Cluster, the Tuck School of Business, 1953 Commons, Hopkins Center, Baker-Berry Library, Remsen Medical Sciences Building , Leverone Field House, and Sachem Village.
For many people, a sharing program is perfect because it eliminates the need to bring a bike, to store it and to maintain it, says David Newlove, Dartmouth’s associate vice president for business and hospitality. “I think it’s pretty cool. You see a lot of cities and universities do this—Boston, Montreal, Princeton, Duke—so we’re doing it for Dartmouth, too.”
Newlove says partnering with Zagster is a good way to get the two-year pilot program up and running. Zagster supplies the bikes, racks, and technology, and also manages repairs and maintenance while making sure the bikes stay evenly distributed throughout campus. “During this pilot, we will periodically review the program’s success and hope to expand the number of bikes and bike hubs over time,” says Newlove.
Newlove hopes the sharing option will encourage people to use bikes rather than cars to get around, reduce the number of abandoned bikes on campus, and cut down on theft of personal bikes. Vehicle parking spaces are scarce, he notes, but the shareable bikes will be easy to find and use. Each bike is equipped with lights and a basket. Helmets will be sold at reduced rates from the transportation services office in McKenzie. The first 300 riders who sign up to become Zagster members will receive a complimentary Dartmouth bike helmet.
“I will definitely be a member,” Newlove says. “I’ll be riding these bikes to meetings and events on campus and around town.”