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dockless bike sharing article

Posted by Morgan White on May 8, 2018

UI officials working on incentives to keep shared bikes in populated areas



CHAMPAIGN — As a dockless-bike-sharing program inches closer to reality in Champaign-Urbana, University of Illinois officials are working on an incentive program to ensure more bikes rented on campus stay in populated areas.

The concept, in general, allows people to rent bikes anywhere in town rather than at a fixed location. The two cities and the UI are working on an intergovernmental agreement to have mostly the same rules.

Lily Wilcock, active transportation coordinator for the UI, said the campus's rules will require the bikes to be returned to a rack so as not to block sidewalks or entrances to buildings, and the UI is working with bike-share companies to make that easier.

"One of the concerns we had as the University of Illinois was, what do you do if someone just rides it to their house and then they leave it there?" Wilcock said. "Some of the companies have responded to that, in that they've been using in other cities an incentive program. They've been allowing someone to ride the bus out to an area to get the bicycle, and then they get a free ride back to leave it in a more populated area. ... And then they get incentives like a certain amount of ride credit."

Wilcock said a dockless-bike-sharing system could launch on campus in the fall.