Purdue set to roll out bike-sharing service

Purdue University is set to join the bike-sharing movement when the service Zagster launches in August, just in time for the first day of fall semester.

The program will offer 50 bicycles at more than a dozen stations on campus. The stations will be located near residence halls, offices, bus stops, bike lanes, parking lots and garages, including those near Ross-Ade Stadium and Discovery Park, which are popular among commuter students.

Users can buy a yearly membership for $25. Then they punch in a code on a mobile app to check out bikes at a station. Riders will make their trip and check the bikes in at another station.

Anyone can sign up for a yearly membership beginning next month, and the program will be up and running by Aug. 24, the Journal and Courier of Lafayette reported.

About a year ago, the school started planning for a bike sharing service after another project indicated an interest among students, said Michael Gulich, director of Purdue's Office of University Sustainability. About 1,200 students use bicycles during peak class hours in the spring, bike county by Purdue's physical facilities office show.

"We heard over and over again … 'We ought to have a bike share,' or 'Why don't we have a bike share?'" Gulich said.

Mitch Nettesheim, a Purdue staff member who served on the master planning committee, is a self-proclaimed cycling advocate who "lived on a bike" as a college student. Having a bike sharing program at the school will mean fewer abandoned bikes on campus and fewer out-of-state students who have to worry about having to bring one from home, he said.

"It's by far the easiest way to get around campus," Nettesheim said, "so I would think if the program is well-run with good bikes, I think it could explode."

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