Scrapes, damages and computer glitches are just a few of the recent negative reports regarding the semester-old Wolfie Ride Bike Share program. But the impairments are not as serious as they might seem.
Sustainability Coordinator Greg Monaco, in charge of maintaining the bicycles, said the problems Wolfie Ride is experiencing are not out of the ordinary for such a program.
“The bikes have been actively used so just like any bike it’s going to need repairs now and then,” Monaco said.
He went on to say that although tires sometimes deflate and pedals sometimes fall off, these issues are not serious.
“This stuff gets fixed in a day and then the bikes are back out there,” he said. “Plus we have a whole room of bikes so it’s not really an issue of not having enough bikes.”
According to the Office of Sustainability’s website, students are not responsible for damages such as a flat tire, but if damage does occur, students should return the bike to a share station and select the “repair/wrench” symbol, which immediately notifies the university about the inoperable bicycle.
The only other major problem plaguing Wolfie Ride is the number of computer glitches. When asked about them, Monaco said that “the program is new but we are still learning how it works and it is getting better all the time. Plus, I’m out there almost every day monitoring the status of the stations and the bicycles.”
SBU’s Environmental Stewardship Office initiated the bike share program in the spring of 2011 when select students were chosen to try out 25 bicycles. Its goal was to promote healthier transportation on campus and reduce the university’s carbon footprint.
The first round of feedback both showed the bike share program was successful and helped to increase the program’s overall effectiveness.
Employees of the Environmental Stewardship Office are still learning about how to make the program more effective.
New York University, for example, also has a bike share program, but there are different qualifications for those wanting to rent a bike. At NYU, participants have to receive safety training and sign liability waivers to rent a bicycle. There is no equivalent at Stony Brook, but there are links to safety precautions on the Office of Sustainability website.
On Stony Brook’s campus, there are four solar powered bike stations with 48 bicycles. The stations are located at the Student Activities Center, South P Lot and the West Apartments.
Students can use the program by purchasing a daily, monthly, weekly or annual subscription with rates ranging anywhere from four dollars to eighty-four dollars. The use of the bikes has been growing.
In April, the bikes were used 286 times. In May it almost quadrupled to 1,573 rides.