Princeton University, NJ U-Bikes Program
Status: Launched in 2007
Princeton students launched the U-Bikes program in the 2007 fall semester with broad support from the Office of Sustainability, Department of Public Safety and the student groups Greening Princeton and Students United for a Responsible Global Environment. The intertwined goals of the U-Bikes program are focused at reusing an existing resource to provide a sustainable means of transportation for students while encouraging greater bicycle use in the community.
Every year many bicycles are abandoned on campus, some of which need only a simple tune-up. The U-Bikes program was inspired by a desire to salvage and repair these bicycles, provide them as a resource for the campus community, and encourage healthy and more sustainable transportation lifestyles.
Public Safety provides the program with bicycles that have been abandoned on campus. They are then refurbished before being distributed. Each bike is rented with a lock. The student renter is responsible for the bike for the rental period, incurring a charge if the bike is severely damaged or lost. U-Bikes' customers are not be responsible for maintenance of the bike. Membership fees help fund an on-campus bike repair facility with staff that occasionally check all bikes in the program for damage and respond to any damage reports from customers.
U-Bikes is currently a semester rental program based out of Forbes College (chosen because of the residential college's distance from other campus buildings), with about 30 refurbished bikes spray-painted with a visible orange band and branded with an orange “U-Bikes” stencil. The High Meadows Fund will be providing additional support to continue, and expand, the program in the fall of 2008.
The U-Bikes program complements current campus planning efforts to enhance the campus environment for pedestrians and cyclists, and provide better services for cyclists.