It’s been one year since BCycle moved onto Trinity’s campus with a bike station at the entrance to lower campus, next to the Verna McLean residence hall. However, the $15,000 station hasn’t lived up to its goal.
The process to bring BCycle to campus began in 2014, with Justin Adler, then-president of the Association of Student Representatives (now Student Government Association, or SGA) leading the charge. At the time, the goal for installation was early Jan. 2015.
After deliberation by future SGA administrations and licensing issues stalling plans, the station was finally installed in Feb. 2017. As part of the move to bring another alternative mode of transportation to campus, SGA contributed to the cost of the station — $15,000 — and purchased 500 passes to distribute to students. Senior Nick Santulli, president of SGA when the station was installed, explained that the program hasn’t done as well as hoped, but still has respectable ridership.
“I think that for services on campus, it’s important to remind students that they exist,” Santulli said. “I think that we have a solid number of riders, but there is room for improvement.”
SGA has also been giving out passes at events regularly, and while many passes are taken, few are used. David Tuttle, dean of students, shared statistics that show usage of passes has not taken off. In the last year, only 31 passes of the original 500 have been redeemed. Tuttle believes that this number is not incumbent on students to increase.
“For students, it’s not their responsibility to make the program work,” Tuttle said. “[Students] have free will, and they have the ability to use it or not. If paying for it is an impediment, it shouldn’t be.”
Tuttle said that SGA should really be doing a better job at promoting the service if it is to take off.
“SGA needs to take ownership; they invested the funds in it,” Tuttle said. “They need to constantly promote it.”
There is certainly interest at San Antonio BCycle headquarters to engage students in their program. In an email interview, Angel Whitley, community engagement at BCycle San Antonio, wrote that they are excited to engage with Trinity.
“We love being on Trinity and would like to get the opportunity to engage the station more, do student and faculty education and get some student ride events on the calendar,” Whitley wrote.
SGA hopes to engage more with students and reach double-digit usage at Trinity’s station. In December, the station saw five rides, while January brought three total rides. According to Santulli, you can pick up a free 24-hour BCycle pass during tabling by SGA or at most SGA-sponsored events.