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Bike-share service gears up for Nebraska’s fall semester
Emerson Nolasco is among a growing number of Huskers commuting via Lincoln’s bike-share program.
Launched in April, BikeLNK offers 100 short-term rental bikes available at 19 kiosks across the city. The service includes seven stations at or near the University of Nebraska–Lincoln — four on City Campus, two on East Campus, and Nolasco’s top-stop at Nebraska Innovation Campus.
Since joining the program in late April, Nolasco has logged 127 trips and just under 200 miles. Among the 443 BikeLNK user accounts — which include more than 250 faculty, staff and students — Nolasco ranks second in total miles covered via the rental bikes.
“I ride almost every day because it is very convenient and affordable,” Nolasco said. “I have to walk a couple of blocks and I can ride right to Nebraska Innovation Campus. My total commute is just 13 minutes.
“This has helped me save money on gas and reduced wear and tear on my own bike.”
In June, 1,726 rides were taken on BikeLNK’s 30 most popular routes. The university was a top location for those June rides, with 881 originating from and 961 ending at kiosks on City and Innovation campuses.
Jamie Granquist, manager of the BikeLNK program, said university riders tend to rank among the heaviest users in community bike share programs nationwide.
“Bike share programs that are located close to campuses in communities that have a high student population as part of the city population — like Austin, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; and Fargo, North Dakota; tend to do really well,” Granquist said. “And, we see a definite correlation between younger populations and young professionals embracing these sustainable community-based transportation systems as primary methods to move around cities.”
The city continues to monitor bike usage and will consider adding or moving kiosk stations in the future. Granquist said BikeLNK organizers encourage feedback that can be used to improve the new program.
The service is accessible through the BikeLNK website, app and kiosks. Passes range in price from $3 for a 30-minute “Quick Tripper” to $80 for an annual membership. The annual pass is available for $10 to University of Nebraska–Lincoln students, faculty and staff.
“The promotion for university riders is why I’m using the service,” Nolasco said. “It’s a great deal.”
The bikes, which are accessible 24 hours each day and 365 days per year, are three-speed cruiser models that include a basket in front and lights for safety. The bikes are white and green, with branding from BikeLNK and other sponsors — including the university.
The community bike share program grew from an initiative spurred by Thien Chau, a Nebraska graduate. Chau, then a student, introduced the idea of a bike-share program to the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska and its Environmental Sustainability Committee in 2013. His ultimate goal was to better connect the community, while reducing air pollution and roadway congestion.
Chau also approached community leaders about the project, which led to the BikeLNK partnership between the city, university and other local interests.
BikeLNK kiosk locations that serve campus include the Nebraska Union, Visitors Center, Eastside Suites, 14th and Avery Parking Garage, Dairy Store, Recreation and Wellness Center and Innovation Commons.