The MAT buses are no longer filled tighter than a can of sardines since the installation of the Bike Share program. Green bikes rolling around all over campus shows just how well received the program has been by North Dakota State students.
Living in the upper midwest, where winter can feel like half the year, makes us appreciate the sunshine and warm weather. Now that the warmth of our spring/summer season is upon us, the bikes are getting plenty of use.
Initially, I was quite skeptical of the whole idea. For the last two years, I heard mentions of Bike Share here and there, mentioned as it was some sort of ideal rather than a reality.
I liked the idea of being able to take a bike from campus to my apartment and vice versa. It was a nice thought, but I didn’t believe Bike Share would pan out as entirely expected.
I was wrong.
I checked out a bike on the first day the program opened and found them convenient. Where the Bike Share hits a home run for me is how it serves as an outlet for both practical and leisurely transportation.
I could walk from my class at Minard to the Memorial Union and take a bike to get back to my University Village apartment by parking it in the Niskenan dock. So simple.
Yet, I could also take a pleasant ride downtown on a Saturday and not have to worry about trying to find a parking space amongst the busy weekend crowd. It also serves as a useful solution to the people who need to pick up their cars Saturday morning after being out Friday night.
Bike Share lends itself as a viable alternative for driving to campus. This helps reduce parking congestion and provides spots for the students who live far away from campus and have no alternative.
I am happy to see how successful the launch has been as we enter the third week of the programs existence.
A few tweaks could make the program even better.
Due to the popularity of the bikes, finding a place to dock can be a hit or miss. I have noticed this issue greatly affecting the Memorial Union lot. It goes from empty to full capacity in a matter of minutes.
At the moment, the only option is to wait or find a different dock, the nearest being the Wellness Center. Not too viable a solution when you have to get to class in a few minutes.
To help students, no fees will be issued unless the bike is left undocked for over 24 hours. But students are warned to not abused this leniency.
In the future, a second dock at the Union would be ideal as it sees the highest traffic, but at the moment it is more of a want than a need.
The Bike Share program has shown its potential and looks to have a bright future among the NDSU Bison.