Taking Your Bike Share To The Next Level

So you've started your own bike share. You had the vision, the desire and the funding to bring sustainable, low-cost transportation to your corporate campus (or perhaps your university, your hotel, your apartment building). You bought the bikes; you set up a station; you hired someone to take charge of renting them out.

Now why isn’t it taking off like you’d hoped? Why isn't anyone using them?

With bike shares on the rise nationally, an increasing number of administrators, property managers, and business operators are asking themselves that question. While it’s laudable that they’ve taken the bold step of creating a bike share, too many of these programs are based on outdated concepts and technology, limiting their scope and success. Much of this can be attributed to businesses and universities operating their own bike shares – a matter that can be handled better, cheaper and more efficiently by experts who live and breathe bike sharing.

The troubles of DIY bike sharing

Bike sharing is great for solving specific transportation problems, like getting from the dorm area of a college campus to the academic area, or from one building on a corporate campus to another. And people love to use bike shares – as long as they can do so conveniently and without hassle. Yet too many systems start out with noble intentions, but fall victim to issues such as insufficient rental locations, inconsistent or expensive maintenance, inadequate organization, and lack of automation.

Universities in particular have found many pitfalls in their deployment of bike shares. They're typically set up so students, faculty and staff use their campus IDs to rent a bike from a designated location, but these programs often suffer from problems that go beyond common ones like a lack of rental locations. For instance, people may want to use bikes to get to class early in the morning or get back from a night on the town late in the evening – but a system that relies on employees to check bikes in and out creates issues for bikers who want to ride outside of business hours.

Google provides a great example of an opposite problem. The company is famed for its Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, Ca., which features a host of awesome perks, from free meals to lavish employee lounges to yoga classes on-site. Among the perks, naturally, are free Google-colored bikes that employees can use to get around the massive campus.

But if you've ever visited the Googleplex, you've probably seen more than a few bikes that look like this:

An abandonded Google bike

An abandonded Google bike

Google has someone whose job is to corral and fix up those bikes, but since they can be simply left anywhere on campus, there's not much organization to that method. Without any sort of system set up to track and maintain the bikes, anyone who relies on taking a bike across campus is gambling – not just that there will be a bike near his or her current location, but also that said bike will be standing right-side up and ready to use.

The expert solution

This is where Zagster comes in. Our goal is to affordably make the bike-sharing experience seamless for both the institutions deploying them and the people using them. And while we're most often relied upon to build new bike shares from scratch, we love upgrading existing bike shares to make sure that all the time, effort and money put into them doesn't go to waste. Many organizations find that while it may seem like an inexpensive option at first to simply buy a fleet of bikes, the cost of maintenance is often underrated, and the costs and limitations of employee-based check-in and check-out are prohibitive.

With our services, you can take your homegrown bike share to the next level. Zagster can provide everything you need: brand-new bikes that get upgraded every two years, ongoing maintenance to keep them running smoothly, marketing materials that get the message out, and lock technology that allows prospective riders to rent bikes via their smartphones. All that adds up to the golden combination of saving money while taking the hassle out of your bike share. With more bikes in more (and more-visible) locations and easier rentals, you'll reap the benefits of more usage, greater rider satisfaction and a world-class system you can point to proudly.