Spring resurgence could see return of Veorides
March 10, 2020
After a season of eerie absence for the usually ubiquitous Veoride bikes on campus, the arrival of warmer and more pleasant weather promises a resurgence of the ride-sharing service that has divided student and staff opinions on campus.
“Over the winter the company uses that time to do maintenance and clean the vehicles because it’s a period of low ridership,” said Ben LeRoy, associate planner at the city of Champaign’s Planning and Development Department. “I would expect that with the weather warming up we will see more bikes back very shortly here.”
Although the constant presence and misuse of Veorides around campus has led some to view the bikes as a nuisance, LeRoy and Champaign’s city council support the presence and future expansion of ride-sharing.
“Champaign has very strongly supported bike-shares since it first came to the city a couple of years ago,” LeRoy said. “We’re very happy to work along with the city of Urbana and the University to put up a joint licensing system to welcome bike-share companies to the community. Any firm that wants to come in and operate is welcome as long as they follow our rules and pay our fees.”
LeRoy said the flourishing of ride-sharing on campus and in the wider C-U community is partly due to the city’s careful, but not excessive, regulation standards.
“The council’s approach is to regulate some things, but not as tightly as some other cities that regulate every last little detail,” LeRoy said. “We set standards for the things that we think are in the public’s interest, like freight size, rules about how quickly the company needs to respond if there’s a complaint, things like that, but we view it as a company coming here to serve people and expand transportation options, so we didn’t want to hit them over the head with excessive regulation.”
LeRoy said Champaign, Urbana and the University are in ongoing talks to improve access to ride-sharing that will benefit students and bring more business and innovation to the area.
“We are currently exploring whether the current open-to-all joint licensing system is the right regulatory system going forward or if going into a contract with a sole provider might meet more of our transportation goals,” LeRoy said. “Those talks are pretty preliminary at this point, but we are constantly evaluating how bike-shares and micro-mobility in general can best serve the cities of Champaign and Urbana and the University.”