The University of Virginia’s bike-sharing program, which was originally set to launch at the end of the summer, has been delayed until late in the current semester.
“UVa is 100 percent ready to go, but we can’t put the system on the ground until we have all the equipment,” said Julia Monteith, senior land use officer for UVa.
The university has bikes, stations and a communications plan ready for the program. However, issues with production of the “brain” – a system designed to keep track of the bikes and participating members – has caused the delay.
“The part we are waiting on is the integrated lock/GPS unit that is the bridge between the bikes and stations and the membership/management software,” said Becca White, UVa’s director of parking and transportation.
The goal of the program, which was inspired by the New York City-based startup Social Bikes, is to provide 120 bikes for students to use on 1,100 acres of UVa’s Grounds. Local residents can pay an $80 membership fee to access the bikes, while UVa students, faculty and staff can pay a discounted rate of $60 a year.
The bikes will be placed in scattered locations throughout UVa. Members can reserve bicycles in advance through Social Bikes’ SoBi mobile app or use a keypad on the bikes themselves. Bikes can be returned to any bicycle rack in designated areas.
“The good news is when we get the system, it’s going to be a really nice system,” Monteith said. “But it’s just been disappointing to have it be delayed in this matter when we’re ready and have been for quite a while.”