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Great Rides Bike Share Program Moving Forward - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Great Rides Bike Share Program Moving Forward

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UPDATE

The bike-share program, known as Great Rides Bike Share, will launch with ten docking stations and 100 bicycles placed throughout NDSU campus and the downtown Fargo area.

Fargo joins several other cities in providing an active transportation alternative for the students and public on or near NDSU's campus and downtown. 

"Great Rides Bike Share is a student-driven initiative that will be in the first bike share program in the country to fully incorporate a university with the community. At least five of the ten docking stations will be on NDSU properties with the others positioned within 1/3 of a mile from campus facilities," said Cam Knutson, former NDSU student body president. "With 98 percent of the system's users being students, we wanted to position the docks where they will provide the greatest benefit to students." 

Great Rides Bike Share is a membership-driven, bike-share system. Memberships are available by the day, week or year and all members have unlimited access to the bikes. All NDSU students are automatically enrolled as members and can access bikes by using their Bison Card. 

More than two years ago, Knutson and other student government members reached out to public and private groups to create a bike share system, eventually forming the Fargo Bike Share Steering Committee. The team formulated a business model that would create a sustainable system that would provide benefits to students and the general public. The steering committee will dissolve and formally turn the project over to Great Rides Fargo and the Great Rides Bike Share Board of Directors. 

Funding was divided into two categories: station and capital stock. Each category featured public and private sponsors with station-stock sponsors receiving marketing placement on the fleet and materials. Sponsors of the station stock, or bicycle docks, received input on placement of the docks and the marketing opportunities on the dock. 

Each docking station is completely solar powered and the bikes themselves are NDSU Green.

"Great Rides Bike Share further strengthens the partnership between the city of Fargo and NDSU," said Tom Smith, president of Great Rides and owner of Great Northern Cycles in downtown Fargo. "We are excited to help provide easy and active transportation for students and citizens. Great Rides was built to make getting around Fargo easier. We're excited to help pedal Fargo forward." 

UPDATE


North Dakota State University students will soon have a quick way to get around campus and downtown, while keeping themselves fit and healthy. The idea has been tossed around for more than three years now and the student government recently budgeted nearly $100,000 dollars for a bike share program.

Those funds will combine with donations gathered by the Kilbourne Group of Fargo to make the program possible.  NDSU's student body president says the bike share will bring a number benefits.

"I think students are going to love it," Robert Lauf said. "It think it's a program that is sustainable and at the same point useful because people need different ways to get around campus. It saves you a lot of money when you don't bring a car to campus." The bike share program will put about 100 rentable bikes on NDSU's campus and in downtown Fargo, where Lauf says there is great demand for alternate transportation.

"Transportation is easily one of the largest concerns students have on campus. Whether it's parking or over a million rides on the MATbus program currently, students need a good way to get around town and especially with the downtown campus it's become an extremely large concern for students."

Students will not have to pay for rentals, they will only have to sign a waiver and swipe their student ID.  Lauf says the project is in the implementation stages and should be ready for students by the fall semester.

ORIGINAL STORY

At nearly $600,000 dollars it's not a cheap program to throw together. But the idea of a bike share program is gaining momentum in Fargo. It could be in place as soon as next fall on NDSU's campus and downtown Fargo. Today Valley News team's Eric Crest finds out how the program works, and what road blocks are in place.

They've been here before. Bikes that you can drop off and pick up on the cheap. It's a bike share program that some are waiting to come to full fruition in Fargo.

"Bike shares have been around for a little more than a decade worldwide," says Tom Smith, the owner of Great Northern Bicycle Company in Fargo.

"We've got stations picked out for our first launch. We're in the process now of trying to secure sponsorship for this program," says Cam Knutson of the Bike Share Steering Committee.

How it would work is a non-profit buys about 100 bikes, sets up ten or more docking stations around downtown and the NDSU campus, and the public can use them. The concept blew up in Minneapolis three years back.

"They were actually the first to launch late in 2010 and already their rider ship has tripled," says Knutson.

A huge perk for NDSU college students is there likely won't be a budget breaking charge.

"Students will be able to use their Bison cards. Walk by a stand, swipe their cards, and have a bicycle. Maybe ride it downtown to Barry Hall," says Smith.

For everyone else who wants to utilize the service. Organizers want to charge about 60 bucks a year or 6 bucks a day for a ride.

"It's great for those coming to Fargo to see the city. You can encourage them to jump on a bike, cruise downtown, hit the campus, check it out. It's a great way for guests, students, anyone in the community to use the system," says Knutson.

But organizers still have one last obstacle if they want to see the system roll out next year. They need to find sponsors.

"I feel confident that in the next few months we're gonna secure the sponsors needed so we can place this order and get the station up and running by mid to late summer," says Knutson.

"Great Northern Bicycle is on board with this business. We're into bicycle advocacy and when we have the opportunity to step on board with something like this. We're 100 percent in," says Smith.

One poll on the NDSU campus found that students support the new bike share program to the tune of 90%. Today's proposal would only cost students five-bucks a semester for the use of those bikes.

Want to find out how you can be a sponsor or get more information about bike share? Check out their facebook page below...

www.facebook.com/greatridesbikeshare

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