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Ofo bike share hits San Diego State’s campus

Electrical+engineering+junior+Adam+Jabbar+rides+an+Ofo+bike+near+Hepner+Hall+on+April+10.
Electrical engineering junior Adam Jabbar rides an Ofo bike near Hepner Hall on April 10.

Electrical engineering junior Adam Jabbar rides an Ofo bike near Hepner Hall on April 10.

Mirella Lopez

Mirella Lopez

Electrical engineering junior Adam Jabbar rides an Ofo bike near Hepner Hall on April 10.

by Paulette Villicana, Staff Writer

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Dockless bicycle-sharing company Ofo launched a pilot program at San Diego State this week in an effort to provide an alternative way for students and staff to get to campus.

On Monday, 100 bikes were distributed around campus for students to use.

Tuesday was the official launch for the bike-sharing pilot program, which will run until the end of 2018. After the year is over, university officials will decide whether Ofo should be able to stay on campus permanently.

The bikes will be free to use for SDSU students and staff who register through the Ofo app using their SDSUid email and using the code SDSUlaunch until May 7. After the free month, students and staff will be charged a discounted rate of 50 cents per hour when using the bikes. 

Students can also choose to pay $8 a month, $30 a semester or $70 year for a subscription that includes an unlimited amount of rides for that time period.

Facilities Services Assistant Director of Sustainability Tom Abram said the dockless bikes are a way to reduce the university’s carbon emissions.

“About 40 percent of our carbon emissions come from commuting from faculty, staff and students and we are looking for ways to get people out of their cars,” he said.

After a long selection process, Abram said the decision was between the companies Ofo and Limebike. He said one of the reasons the university chose to partner with Ofo was because of an equity program feature that allows an even lower rate than 50 cents per hour for students with low income.

Another feature that Ofo has is the ability to unlock the bike without a smartphone.

“You still need a phone, you would text, they text you a code and then you would unlock it with that code,” Abram said. “You would still have to go online ahead of time and link up and create your account.”

Ofo spokesperson Eric Smith said the company has received positive feedback from students, and they are looking to expand to more universities. 

“There’s no better place to help people get around,” Smith said. “You can drive here and park here but how else do you get around campus? So for us, universities are usually the best place for these dockless bike sharing companies to come to.”

Many students who commute to campus said they were excited about the new program. Speech, language and hearing sciences freshman Kathy Vu said it was less of a hassle than bringing her own bike to school.

“I feel like they are very convenient for people who live off-campus because I’ve been wanting to bring my bike to school but it’s just too much work,” she said. “Putting it in my car and back and forth, so it’s just a lot easier and you don’t have to worry about it getting stolen.”

Ofo bicycles can’t be left just anywhere on campus, though — they must be parked in bike racks.

This article was updated at 2 p.m. on April 11 to remove an incorrect statement that bicycles can be left anywhere on city streets.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Ofo bike share hits San Diego State’s campus”

  1. Robert Carande on April 12th, 2018 1:12 pm

    Definitely a step in the wrong direction. Even the Ofo spokesperson admits “You can drive here and park here but how else do you get around campus?” It has nothing to do about containing emissions – Its about more bikes on campus. Already, based on my own experience, there is negligence maintaining the safety of students and faculty regarding bikes and skateboards. Its dangerous enough now to walk around campus dodging these people who do not care about others. Can’t imagine why the University wants to have a contract making SDSU liable for any injuries occurring when these people illegally drive their bikes throughout campus. Instead, completely ban bikes and skateboards from campus. And then strictly enforce it for everyone’s safety.

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