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Wednesday, October 04, 2023
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UB Bikeshare expansion may include e-bikes, scooters

Demand is increasing after last year’s record number of on-campus bike share trips

<p>UB Bikeshare has 50 bikes across campus.</p>

UB Bikeshare has 50 bikes across campus.

The UB Bikeshare program’s 50 bicycles aren’t enough to meet rising demand, officials say, and early talks are underway to add to the fleet. 

In addition to adding more regular bicycles, UB Parking and Transportation is considering adding electrically assisted bicycles and scooters to the program, Parking and Transportation director Christopher Austin said in an emailed statement.

The expansion will likely come when the university rebids its contract for UB Bikeshare, which is currently managed by Reddy Bikeshare, a Buffalo-based non-profit.

Usage of the bikes has increased, and their usage has changed, a Reddy Bikeshare official says. While the Student Union and Fargo Quadrangle are the most popular locations, demand has shifted toward Moody Terrace in the Ellicott Complex. 

The bikes were used for a record number of trips in 2022, but that record will likely be broken by the end of 2023, the Reddy Bikeshare official said in an email. 

Despite the record usage, it’s rare for all 50 bikes to be in service at once, as at least some of them are out of commission for maintenance at any given time. On Monday, for example, only 37 bikes were available on UB’s North Campus.

The company official said Reddy doesn’t plan to provide scooters, citing their rocky rollout in towns like North Tonawanda and differences in scooters’ charging systems and usage patterns.

“It’s not in our wheelhouse to want to do [scooters] because they require a different station. We'd rather let someone who wants to solely look into scooters, instead of us doing scooters and bike share,” the Reddy official said.

For $10 per year plus $2 per hour, UB Bikeshare members can ride UB’s specially branded bikes and other Reddy bicycles across Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

UB Parking and Transportation officials plan to hold town halls for UB community members to discuss the expansion on Wednesday, Sept. 27 and Tuesday, Oct. 24. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to more accurately attribute quotes. 

Sol Hauser is a news editor and can be reached at sol.hauser@ubspectrum.com

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