So how will this wonderful bike-sharing program be funded? Well, we have a ton of ideas!
1.) Initial funding by the Student Sustainability Committee
All programs have to start somewhere, and the SSC at UIUC is a great place for funding the initial costs of a bike-sharing program! The SSC is a student panel that distributes about 1 million dollars from student tuition fees to various green project proposals present at the university, and if the bike-sharing proposal could get about a $300,000 grant–about how much the University of Wisconsin at Madison paid to start its bike-sharing program–it could be easily funded.
2.) A flat fee included in tuition
This is already something that is present at our university with the public busing system. Every student has an extra charge added to their tuition in order to ride the CUMTD, or the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, for free during the year. However, because there are a lot of people who choose to bring their own bicycles to the university, having a required fee would be unfair to those people. Therefore, if this solution is implemented, an option to opt out of this charge would be available
3.) Advertising on the bikes
This method has already been utilized in almost every bike-sharing program. The hardest part is finding sponsors to have ads put on our bikes, but this would be an easy and simple way to generate a lot of revenue, and there are plenty of local on-campus restaurants as likely sponsors. However, this cannot be the sole source of income. Some possible partners that we have are the CUMTD and bike sharing companies such as B-Cycle or Nice ride to manage the entire program
4.) Hourly rate
Many universities that have a bike-sharing program and charge an hourly rate do not charge anything for the first half hour or hour. After that, an hourly rate will be charged up to a certain amount of time, say two days or so. After this time, unless there was a pre-existing agreement, the bike will be considered stolen and the student’s account will be charged for the cost of the bike. This could be used for people who opted out of the tuition fee, but have one of those days where they just really need a bike, and our bike-sharing program will come to the rescue! This hourly rate will be paid either by charging the amount to the student’s account, or can be bought with extra credits. For those of you not at the University of Illinois, each student has the option to buy credits that can be used to pay for things such as laundry, cafeteria meals, etc. It’s a pretty sweet deal!
Tl;dr. Except hopefully not! Hope everyone has a wonderful day and you stay tuned for another update about our proposal.