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University of Kansas bike-sharing service off to big start

July 21, 2018

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas’ new bike-share service has seen a booming start and plans to add more bikes to the fleet this fall.

KU’s Center for Sustainability says in a new report that 12,000 rides totaling more than 5,000 miles (8,046 kilometers) have been taken by students and faculty since the April launch of VeoRide, the Lawrence Journal-World reported .

VeoRide, a bike-share company that was chosen from a pool of eight providers, distributed 180 bicycles throughout the KU campus. With the start of the upcoming fall semester, VeoRide plans to add 180 more bikes to its fleet. The company hopes to continue adding 180 bikes every semester until the fleet reaches 540 bikes.

The university paid nothing upfront for the new program. Instead, VeoRide gets paid through rider memberships and passes, eliminating the need for a student fee.

Riders pay 50 cents for every 15 minutes of use. Or they can pay for day, month or yearlong passes, according to the city’s agreement with VeoRide. Passes cost $7 for 24 hours of unlimited two-hour rides, $26 for a month and $100 for a year. KU students and employees are also eligible for discounts on monthly and annual passes.

The reaction so far has been overwhelmingly positive, said Margretta de Vries, transit analyst for KU Parking and Transit.

“I have heard one or two people wondering why they have to buy a membership, but that’s because we’re not (requiring) a student fee to help pay for it,” she added. “One or two people out of 3,000 people who have actually ridden the bikes is not a very big percentage.”

The service plans to introduce electric bikes to the fleet in the future. E-bikes, as they’re called, contain a torque sensor inside a motor that measures the weight pressed onto the bike’s pedals, making pedaling uphill easier.

The ultimate goal is to have e-bikes make up about 30 percent of the fleet, de Vries said.

Earlier this month, the Lawrence City Commission voted to approve an agreement between VeoRide and the city that would allow the company to add about 20 off-campus locations to its bike-share service.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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