Dockless bicycles present new campus transportation option

By Eric Rzeszutko, Staff Writer

The company VeoRide is hoping to introduce its  dockless bike sharing service to campus in the fall, said Linda Jackson, communications director for the company.

“(Students) will have access to healthy, sustainable transportation that builds community. The campus and community’s bike-friendly infrastructure definitely helps make a bike-share a viable option,” Jackson said. 

Students and people in the surrounding community who do not have access to their own bikes or other modes of transportation will be able to use the VeoRide bikes, said Ben Leroy, associate planner for the City of Champaign. Though not approved yet, Leroy said licenses should be approved from the cities of Champaign and Urbana within the next few weeks.

Students around the Champaign-Urbana area can find the dockless bikes on campus using an app. The dockless bikes can be located anywhere on campus. However, users are expected to leave the bike in a responsibly placed location for the next rider when using the service.

Lily Wilcock, visiting active transportation coordinator of University Facilities and Services, said the campus has been working toward implementing bike sharing for over a decade. Dockless bikes work by downloading the VeoRide app, adding a payment method on the app and finding a bike on the map, which is then used and billed dependent on the time of usage on the bike.

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    “Many students may be hesitant to purchase a bicycle for college, but bikes can help reduce commute time across campus or to downtown Urbana or Champaign,” Wilcock said. “I hope that students see this as an opportunity to have the convenience of a bicycle but at a very low cost.”

    Anyone can use the service by signing into the VeoRide app and payment is automatic after using the bike.

    “(Dockless bike) operators are required to submit a $600 application fee, two $1,000 security deposits (held by the City of Champaign and the City of Urbana), and $5 per bicycle to the University of Illinois as a registration fee,” Leroy said.

    Operators will need to decide what to do with their services during the winter months, but their licenses are valid throughout the calendar year.

    “The City of Champaign is excited to add to the wealth of transportation choices available in our city. Biking is a safe, sustainable, and convenient mode of transportation, and dockless bike share brings cycling to a broad swath of our population,” said Leroy.

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