Waterloo Grad Students Win $25,000 for Bike-Share Program Proposal
Waterloo, Ontario could become one of the first North American cities with a bike-sharing program. Three grad students, Ben Finklemen, Ben Clare and Matthew Lee have won a $25,000 prize from TD Bank’s Friends of the Environment Foundation for their proposal for a two-wheeler-share program in the Canadian "university town".
The students from the School of Planning are planning to take their proposal to the Waterloo regional council in the fall and see if they can get it going. If successful, it could mean less car trips and easier movement throughout the Kitchener-Waterloo area. This proposal is aimed at people aged 15-24 and would start with approximately 100 bikes in 14 designated bike stations. The plan is that bikes would be free for the first hour, $2.50 for the second and third hours and $5.00 for every hour after that. People would swipe their credit cards and enter a code to access a bike.
This is slightly different from the very successful program in Barcelona which has a 2-hour limit aimed at keeping the bikes available to everybody and to avoid people keeping them for long periods. As well, in Barcelona you don’t swipe your credit card to access a bicycle; you have a membership card which is tied to your credit or debit card. However, as in Barcelona, the Waterloo program would have a website where you could see the availability of bikes at each station.
This is the first year for the Go Green Challenge that encourages Canadian college and university students to create ideas for helping our Mother Earth. Four $25,000 awards were available from the TD Foundation. These Waterloo students will get to keep half for themselves and the other half for the Waterloo Faculty of Environmental Studies.