Pay-to-ride bikes bring alternative transportation to campus

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Pay-to-ride bikes bring alternative transportation to campus

A Student uses a VeoRide bike Sept. 24 on Texas State's campus. VeoBike is a bike-share program that allows students to rent Bobcat-branded bikes through a mobile app.
Photo By Cameron Hubbard

A Student uses a VeoRide bike Sept. 24 on Texas State's campus. VeoBike is a bike-share program that allows students to rent Bobcat-branded bikes through a mobile app. Photo By Cameron Hubbard

A Student uses a VeoRide bike Sept. 24 on Texas State's campus. VeoBike is a bike-share program that allows students to rent Bobcat-branded bikes through a mobile app. Photo By Cameron Hubbard

A Student uses a VeoRide bike Sept. 24 on Texas State's campus. VeoBike is a bike-share program that allows students to rent Bobcat-branded bikes through a mobile app. Photo By Cameron Hubbard

Texas State and the City of San Marcos launched a dock-less bike-share program Sept. 20 in partnership with VeoRide.

The gold bikes can be found around town brandishing a Bobcat logo and can be unlocked by downloading the VeoRide app and scanning each bike’s unique QR code. The bikes can then be dropped off at any predetermined location throughout San Marcos and the Texas State campus.

Cost-wise, the bikes run for 15 minutes for every 50 cents paid through the app but day passes can be bought for $6.99. Additional packages are also available for $25.99 per month or $99.99 annually, which includes unlimited 30-minute rides. Student discounts are available for the monthly and annual packages.

San Marcos Economic Development Administrator Kevin Burke said the plan came at no cost to either the city or university. Instead of allowing multiple companies to set up shop in San Marcos, VeoRide is the only authorized bike sharing program in San Marcos. This will help create a simpler, universal experience for riders and give VeoRide the best opportunity to succeed as a business.

“Over time, the city’s goal is to accommodate for all modes of transportation,” Burke said. “For now, we want to do anything we can to increase mobility outside of people driving single occupancy vehicles.”

The bike-share program comes as a part of the city’s Transportation Master Plan to bring multi-modal transportation to the community.

Matt Briggs, Texas general manager for VeoRide, said Texas State and the city of San Marcos released a joint request for a dock-less mobility service.

“Combined, the Texas State campus and the city of San Marcos gave us the ideal scenario,” Briggs said. “We have gotten great, positive feedback. Students, faculty and the community love it. It’s a more efficient transport and it eliminates most problems associated with bikes like theft or not having a place to park the bike.”

Texas State Coordinator of Alternative Transportation Services and Bike Cave Manager Alex Vogt spearheaded the initiative alongside Burke and Texas State Director of Transportation Services Steven Herrera. Vogt believes this bike sharing system is more than an opportunity to make traversing campus easier.

“This could be seen as an opportunity to change the culture around biking on campus,” Vogt said. “With all of these new bikes around and the fact that they’re very affordable, we’re hoping it’ll catch on with all the students here.”

Vogt named several benefits to allow VeoRide on Texas State and in San Marcos and noted a specific benefit to seeing how these systems work at universities who open their doors to bike rental companies.

“We’ve been able to learn from the other colleges that have done this before us and know how to avoid some of the same pitfalls they had,” Vogt said. “What we have is a newer product that has a few newer updates that really make the difference.”

According to Herrera, there are a variety of features to help make the process as enjoyable as possible. The bike sharing company will also be tasked with maintenance and placement of the bicycles.

The contract is signed by the city and university and is set to be renewed annually for the next five years but can be opted out of by either entity if they or the public are unsatisfied.

Recent Texas State University graduate Brent Jenogan is an avid cyclist and said he wished this program would have been around when he was still on campus.

“It sounds like a great opportunity,” Jenogan said. “Believe it or not, cycling costs a lot of money when you’re getting started. Bike-sharing programs like this are gonna give everyone here the benefits of owning a bike without having to blow the bank.”