TWU Launches New Bike Share Program
When Texas Woman’s University students return to school for their fall semester, they will see marooned colored bikes stationed around campus. Spin, a bike sharing company, has come to Denton after controversy surrounding Vbikes, which has since left the city after new bike share regulations in March.
TWU is launching their bike sharing program through a partnership with Spin. The company brought 25 bikes to campus and any student can use them to get around the university or surrounding areas.
“I think that [students] will like the bikes,” associate director of TWU fitness and recreation, Karrie Fletcher, said. “They will use the bikes to get around campus. They’ll be excited about it.”
Riding a TWU Spin bike will cost 50 cents per half hour or students can get unlimited 30 minute rides for $14 a month by signing up through their school email.
Participants have to download the 'Spin Bikes' app, which will help them find a nearby bike. Once they find a bike, it can be unlocked by scanning a QR code. Students can take their bikes off campus but they must be returned by the end of the day.
Fletcher said she reviewed three bike sharing companies for TWU but Spin impressed her with their professionality and their offer to paint the bikes maroon. Luke Pettyjohn, partnership lead for Spin, said TWU’s cooperation made the process quick and easy.
“We’ve always had great contact with TWU and the school has been really supportive from the very beginning,” Pettyjohn said.
Pettyjohn also said college students are looking for alternative forms of transportation and they are not as tied to cars like generations past.
“It’s a much less expensive way of getting around and college students are one of the quickest to adapt to new technology and figure out how a bike and app can work together easily,” Pettyjohn said.
When Denton City Council got complaints surrounding the placement of Vbikes, they made new rules regarding bike rental companies. Citizens said bikes were being placed in unusual locations like private property.
The city decided to require bike rental companies to receive a permit before operating in Denton. Pettyjohn said the company had trouble getting the permit even though TWU already agreed on the program.
“It is important to note that Spin went through the permitting process with the city of Denton,” director of communications for student life, Amy Adams, said. “They are permitted and allowed to be here. I don’t believe any other bike company has gone through the permitting from the city.”
Fletcher said she ordered 25 bikes to avoid clutter issues and Spin hires people to return bikes to where they belong.
“We think that with such a little number of bikes that it won’t contribute to any clutter around Denton or campus,” Fletcher said.
Pettyjohn said the company uses real time data driven decisions to determine the best places for bikes and bikes left in low use areas will be moved to high demand areas.
“We don’t put out more bikes then we can handle,” Pettyjohn said. “We are much more committed to bike share as a service than just getting bikes on the ground and hoping for the best.”
Spin currently serves 30 cities and 18 universities. They are looking to create service for the University of North Texas as well, which will start in June.
“We’re really excited to see how readily students pick up on the bike share, especially when the fall semester rolls back around and the whole Denton area will be able to be served,” Pettyjohn said.
Header image photographed by Mateo Granados.
Header image layout design by Tori Falcon.