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Sunday, April 02, 2023

UF services partner for new bike-rental program for students

Ashish Aggarwal didn’t like waiting for the bus, and now he won’t have to.

The 23-year-old is renting a bicycle through UF’s new semesterly program, Gator Gears.

The program started Monday, but Aggarwal was waiting for several weeks to get his bike.

As a partnership with the UF Office of Sustainability, Transportation and Parking Services and Student Traffic Court, bicycles are rented out to students on a semesterly basis. Students can pay $40 for one semester, $70 for two or $100 for a year.

"We want to reduce the number of abandoned bikes on campus," said Jacob Adams, office manager of the Office of Sustainability who also helps students rent the bikes.

"It’s a big problem," he said. "So we want bikes that we can reclaim instead of bikes that people maybe buy at Wal-Mart and then abandon on the racks."

About 100 students have already signed up for the program, he said.

Philosophy junior Sara Duross waited at the bike racks on Plaza of the Americas on Tuesday. She said she’s looking into renting one of the bikes to make her morning commute shorter.

"I live three miles away from campus, and I took the bus this morning," the 20-year-old said. "It took me 35 minutes to get here, so I’ve been considering getting a bike."

The blue bikes are equipped with gears, a basket, a helmet and a lock. The program also provides bike maintenance such as fixing flat tires, Adams said.

All bikes are also registered through the University Police Department and Gainesville Police Department to prevent theft, said Megan Walker-Radtke, a program coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. Adams said the Office of Sustainability wants students to see biking as something convenient to get around campus and the city.

"We also want to encourage people who are just getting started in cycling to have a really great experience on a bike and go buy a bike on their own," he said. "And see it as a valuable form of alternative transportation."

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