LAWRENCE — University of Kansas students, faculty and staff will soon have a new transportation option for a quick trip across campus, a ride to the store or simply enjoying the outdoors.
KU Parking & Transit is launching the KU Bike Share program, which allows riders to rent a bicycle using their smartphone. KU is partnering with VeoRide, which is providing the bikes and technology at no cost to the university. With the VeoRide app, riders can locate and unlock a nearby bike via their smartphone. Because each bicycle is GPS-enabled, riders can leave the bike at any campus bike rack rather than returning it to a dedicated bike dock.
“The KU Bike Share program, in partnership with VeoRide, provides an eco-friendly and fun transportation option for commuting and recreation at no cost to the university,” said Diane Goddard, vice provost for administration & finance.
The official launch of the program is April 18 with an event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in front of Stauffer-Flint Hall. The event will include games, free food and free bike rides. KU and VeoRide representatives will be on hand to provide more information about the KU Bike Share program and demonstrate the simple process of renting a bike. There will also be a group ride from the Kansas Union at 4 p.m. April 19 and an opportunity to try out the bikes and chat with KU and VeoRide staff at Earth Day events April 21 in South Park.
For the first two weeks, KU students, faculty and staff will be able to use the KU Bike Share program for free, and Lawrence community members can rent a bike for half off. Beginning in May, pay-as-you-go rides will be available for as little as 50 cents for 15 minutes. Additional packages for monthly or yearly rates are available, with discounts for KU students and employees. To rent a bike, download the VeoRide app, locate a bike, scan the QR code on the bike or enter the bike’s ID to unlock. At the end of your ride, park at a campus bike rack identified in the app and simply push the button on the bike lock to end the trip.
KU is working with the city of Lawrence to expand the KU Bike Share program to the larger community. Lawrence Parks & Recreation will designate specific bike racks in the downtown area where KU Bike Share bikes can found or returned. Rented bikes taken off campus must be returned to one of the designated bike racks in order to stop the clock on rental charges.
“We support and encourage riders in the Lawrence community to use and enjoy the convenience and health benefits of the KU Bike Share program,” said Derek Rogers, Lawrence Parks & Recreation director. “However, we want to make sure bikes aren’t randomly left downtown or in other locations around town where they might create problems.”
As campus grows, the KU Bike Share program provides another travel option that is convenient, sustainable and can help reduce traffic congestion and parking issues on campus.
“With the expansion of the Central District and Jayhawk Trail opening this summer, we’re excited to offer alternate modes of transportation for students to use both to get across campus and for recreation. We’re looking forward to working together with Lawrence Parks & Recreation and city planning staff to designate bike racks for parking locations off campus as well,” said Donna Hultine, director of KU Parking & Transit.
Initially, the bike share program will have 180 KU-branded bikes. The VeoRide bikes feature sturdy construction, seven gears and built-in safety features, including solar-powered headlights and taillights, run-flat tires and drum brakes.
VeoRide was founded by Purdue University graduates Candice Xie and Edwin Tan with the goal of providing affordable, environmentally friendly transportation, especially in and around universities with dense student populations and strong bike access. Their understanding of campus communities was one of the factors in KU selecting VeoRide as a partner.
“We believe bike shares have the power to transform a community, not just by addressing their transportation needs, but also by providing an opportunity to connect with others and be active,” said Xie, vice president of business development for VeoRide. “The University of Kansas’ commitment to their students, faculty, staff and broader community makes them a great partner for this venture.”
More information about biking at KU is available here.