Q: Isn’t Tufts on a hill?
A: Indeed it is. However, the purpose of the bike share is not necessarily to commute from one university building to another (although you are perfectly welcome to do so), but rather to give the Tufts Community another option for transportation to and from the surrounding area, for whatever purpose the patron desires.
Additionally, the two bike rack locations are conveniently located mostly at the bottom of the hill, so the hill is mostly avoidable.
Q: Isn’t is cold and snowy in Boston?
A: It certainly can be. However, a good nine months of the year are largely snow and ice free (depending on the winter, of course) and patrons can always choose not to ride bikes on days with bad weather and choose the Joey or the T instead. If you are worried for the health of the bikes outdoors (we appreciate your concern) there are bike shelters over the two racks to keep bikes out of the elements for when they are not being used. In addition, the bike-share closes during winter months (exact dates vary by year), and are stored in a secret location until they re-emerge when the snow melts.
Q: Did you base the bike share on city bike shares, like the ones in Paris or Montreal?
A: Not really. The Tufts Bikes bike share program is much different than the city programs. For one, city programs cost money, whereas Tufts Bikes is free of cost. Additionally, most city wide programs have thousands of bikes with dozens of kiosks scattered about the metropolitan area. This is because city programs often designed to serve a much larger group of people in a much larger area than Tufts University.
The Tufts Bikes bike sharing program is based more off of other university bike sharing programs, such as Emory’s or Keene State’s, where there is much more flexibility and much less cost to the user. It’s easiest to think of our bike share as a “Bike Library” and city programs as “Bike Rental Programs.” A smaller group of users and a modest number of bikes in two centralized locations helps us keep tabs on the system and ensure that everything is running smoothly.
Q: Where exactly did all of the $50,000 go?
A: The major costs for the program were the bikes, the tools and bike shop paraphernalia, bike parts and accessories, the bike racks, and the two bike shelters.
General numbers look like this (numbers have been rounded):
30 Africa Bikes: $9,000
Bike Shelters, Racks, and Installation: $30,000
Bike Accessories and Shop Tools: $7,000
Outdoor Informational Posters: $800
Library Materials: $350
Promotional Materials: $300
As you can see, not all the $50,000 was used and any money that we do not use by the end of this academic year was returned.
We of course looked into different options and made sure to keep our costs as low as possible, while still ensuring the quality of the system. Almost everything we purchased was through Urban AdvenTours, a bike shop in Boston that agreed to give us a 20% discount on all purchases. Additionally when selecting and purchasing the most expensive aspect of the share, the bike shelters, we worked with Tufts Facilities to find the most reasonable vendor.
If you have additional questions or want something clarified, please don’t hesitate to contact us at TuftsBikeShare@gmail.com