The expansion of Wolf Ride Bike Share, Stony Brook’s bike rental program, took place this summer despite the fact that the Public Bike System Corporation (PBSC), the firm that developed the bike share system, declared bankruptcy this past January.
Four new stations have been installed on campus this summer alone, bringing the total number of stations to eight and the number of available bikes to 60.
Students can now rent bicycles from stations outside of Javits Lecture Center, James College, Frank Melville Library, the Life Sciences building, South P Lot, the Student Activities Center (SAC) and West Apartments C and I.
PBSC, a Montreal-based company also known as Bixi, filed for protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, but would “remain in operation during this period of restructuring and…continue to maintain its services to its users,” according to an official statement on Bixi’s website.
However, the service could only be sustained through a transformation into a non-profit organization and a loan from the City of Montreal. The corporation has systems in place internationally, with many operated by third parties.
Stony Brook’s Director of Sustainability and Transportation Operations James O’Connor explained that the plan to develop the bike share system further went on smoothly despite PBSC’s bankruptcy and reclassification.
“The management of the company responsible for the bike system is not directly involved with the system on our campus,” he said. “Upon receiving student feedback for Wolf Ride, we were able to see which areas would benefit most from expansion and take that into consideration in terms of our budget.”
PBSC’s website lists the Wolf Ride program as the first of its kind established at a university. The system is managed by the Office of Sustainability.
Other than the installation of new stations, O’Connor explained that there was always the possibility of changes made to existing setups. This summer, for example, one of the two bike stations outside the SAC was moved near the library to better service students.
Additionally, bike rental rates will remain the same, with the first 60 minutes free for students and extra charges applying only after extended use. Faculty, staff and visitors will still be required to purchase a subscription to use Wolf Ride, according to the Office of Sustainability’s website.
Wolf Ride has offered nearly 8,000 rides since its launch in spring 2013, according to the Office of Sustainability’s website.
“We completed the installation of new stations this summer, when there were fewer students on campus…and we would certainly like to continue to expand the bike share program in the future,” O’Connor said.