Mania for this idea is changing the nature of how students get to-and-from.
By: Lane Fahey, Asst. News Editor
An unfamiliar sea of orange has infiltrated Furman’s campus, giving students a new opportunity to travel around at a faster rate.
Over the past two weeks, a hundred bikes arrived from Spin, a San Francisco founded program focusing on “transforming cities and campuses by offering an accessible, affordable and environmentally-friendly form of personal mobility.”
The partnership with Furman’s Student Government Association centered on addressing rigid parking regulations.
“We [SGA] feel like parking has been an issue for students. You can’t park super close to your classroom, the Trone lots are full…can’t park in the Dining Hall, and so we wanted to try and make transportation easier for students to get to those places where parking is not as easy,” Bike Share Ad Hoc Committee Leader Jackson Ferrell said.
The way Spin works is through an app, which shows where all of the bikes are around campus. It costs 50 cents for a half hour ride, but for the launch week, a promotion allowed students to use them free of charge.
Bikes in the vicinity appear on the app. Then the QR code on the front basket or backseat of the bicycle is scanned and the bike unlocks and is ready to ride. Once students are done with the bike, they simply lock it back onto any rack around campus.
The unique thing about Spin compared to other bike programs is that bikes can be left at different locations. Most programs force you to return the bike where it was initially taken.
“Differently from other bike share programs is they don’t really like the hubs where you have to park them in certain spots, so that’s one of the big advantages we saw there is that you can take them anywhere and don’t have to worry about parking it in those certain spots,” said Ferrell on behalf of SGA.
If a bike requires maintenance, Spin is notified with a mechanism on the bike. Spin then takes the bike out of circulation to be fixed.
So far, students who have tried them out seem to like the convenience.
“I was really bummed that I didn’t have a bike this year since I’m living across the lake in the Greenbelt cabins,” sophomore Amie Newsome said. “Once I found out about the Spin bikes I immediately hopped on and tried them. It makes the commutes to class or even to visit friends in lakeside so much easier.”
Newsome used the bikes 17 times three days after the launch.
Students can pay through the app. If $5 is loaded onto the app, an additional dollar is added for free. Unlimited plans are also available, for $29 a month. This entails unlimited 30 minute rides.
Given that this is a standard pilot program, if Spin is successful this year, alterations to bike color and design may be made in the future.
“With the pilot, I think this is the set of bikes we are going to have,” Ferrell said. “Over the summer with the time period, they said if this becomes sort of a permanent thing on campus, they have done custom bikes before, so they’re willing to look into that whether it’s purple or putting a Furman logo on it.”
It is possible that the sea of orange could become purple with time.