11 May Bike-sharing comes to Taylor
Dubbed “Taylor Taxi,” the private Christian college’s newest program designed to promote and encourage sustainability transforms abandoned bicycles and turns them into public, free to use bicycles students can use to get around campus.
Mike Guebert, professor of earth and environmental science at Taylor and the program’s director, said the bike-sharing program is part of the university’s focus on providing sustainable and healthy options for students. The program is part of the larger Up-Cycle Project that aims to make a sustainable transportation plan, with an emphasis on use of bicycles for student and faculty use, both on and off campus. Funding for the Up-Cycle Project came from grants by the Woman’s Giving Circle, the Ball Brothers Foundation and the Community Foundation of Grant County. In all totaling a little under $30,000 was raised for the program.
“We want to make it more appealing to students to ride their bike instead of their car around campus,” Guebert said.
The project launched with a total of 33 repurposed bicycles painted yellow and marked to let students and faculty know it’s a “taxi.” The initiative Sean Maynor, program manager, said has already been extremely popular with students.
“Students already want more,” Maynor said.
Each spring, Guebert said, 30 to 50 bicycles are abandoned on campus by students for variety of reasons. In 2007, Guebert received permission to collect those abandoned bicycles and store them.
So far 400 have been collected, and while not all of them are in shape to be used, Geubert said he expects about half of those bicycles can be used for the bike-sharing program.
In conjunction with the “taxi” service and the Up-Cycle Project, a student-managed “bike kitchen” has been opened in the college’s Honor’s Lodge garage and serves as an educational tool for students – and eventually Upland residents – to learn how to repair their own bicycles, as well as receive low-price parts from the abandoned bicycles.
This school year is a test year for the new program, and while both Guebert and Maynor said other similar bike-sharing programs at other universities have largely failed, they believe the Taylor and Upland community is the right fit.
“Sure, we’re a little worried about theft and other misuse, and it’s bound to happen to some degree, but I’d like to hope since we’re a small town community and a Christian campus, we’d keep the bikes in good shape and not misuse them,” Guebert said.
Read more about the Taylor Taxi Service here.