USF bike share program skids into some problems

- USF's Share-A-Bull bike program is facing some problems like lots of broken bikes.

The bike sharing program started rolling in October with 100 bikes available to students.

USF junior Justin Downey is quick to sing the praises of pedal power.  "I've literally saved my butt by taking a bike and not being late for an exam.  So, it's saved me tremendously," he said.  

At least twice a week he's hopping on one of the Share-A-Bull bikes at USF.  "You have a bike everywhere. It's like having 1000 bikes," he said.

In just one month there are more than 3800 registered users who have collectively ridden more than 46,000 miles.  But it hasn't been a completely smooth ride.

"It is pretty frustrating and disappointing.  This is a community resource and people are using them as toys," said Francis Morgan, Assistant Director for Outdoor Recreation at USF.

Downey has seen the damage firsthand.  "I have seen students riding bikes down stairs or treating it with not a lot of care because it isn't their bike," he described.

In fact 30 bikes are currently being repaired.  Broken spokes are the most common issue, but broken lights, flat tires, and busted handle bars are also regular problems..

So far, replacement parts have totaled $4000.

"These are flat surface commuter bikes. They're not made for rough and tumble things," said Morgan.

Still, despite some rough rides, plans are to expand the program and keep it rolling along.


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