Less than a year after it began, a bike-share system at Purdue University is set to expand on campus and to downtown Lafayette. And a pending agreement with West Lafayette could add more bikes within the city.
The original bike-share program at Purdue had 50 bikes across 13 stations when it began in August 2015. Since its inception, about 1,100 riders have taken the 50 bikes on more than 23,000 rides, according to Aaron Madrid, bicycle operations coordinator at Purdue University.
"We've surpassed all our original goals with the program, and we're not at a calendar year yet," Madrid said.
Purdue manages the contract with Zagster and promotes the program. Zagster maintains and monitors the bikes. Lafayette has agreed to sponsor an expansion through Purdue, which will continue to manage the contract with Zagster. The proposed deal with West Lafayette is the same.
The program is adding 20 bikes to the campus system, plus 15 bikes for downtown Lafayette. Should the West Lafayette agreement pass, there would be 100 bikes within the city. Madrid said expanding the program under Purdue saves the cities labor costs, streamlines the administration and allows university fundraising to fuel the program.
On June 23, members of Lafayette's Redevelopment Commission accepted a deal to add 15 bikes and three stations in downtown Lafayette. Another deal would add the same amount of bikes and stations to West Lafayette. Each deal would cost $24,600 for the first year and $21,600 the second year, with the option to renew.
The West Lafayette Board of Works and Public Safety was set to decide on the program on Tuesday. The board failed to reach a quorum and the issue was postponed, but supporters are optimistic the deal will pass.
Proponents hope to have bikes available by August when school starts, said Beverly Shaw, greenspace administrator for West Lafayette. The expansion would mean sites near West Lafayette Public Library, Riverside Skating Center and the intersection of River Road and State Street, said Madrid.
Lafayette Economic Development Director Dennis Carson said he kept an eye on the program at Purdue after it started in 2015. After its success, Madrid and city officials looked into expanding the system.
"I did some research on it, talked to the Zagster company and we worked out a deal," Carson said.
The new stations are set for Reihle Plaza, MatchBOX Coworking Studio and the corner of Main and North 11th streets, according to Madrid.
"We're trying to get further off campus to get a really comprehensive system," Madrid said.
Madrid said he hopes to expand the program to places like Happy Hollow Park, the West Lafayette Farmers Market and Purdue Research Park.