May 15, 2017 | Atlanta, GA
Amid the white and gold Stingers and Tech Trolleys on campus, a slew of blue bikes has emerged.
As part of the City of Atlanta’s recent expansion of the Relay Bike Share program, Georgia Tech now has six campus hubs where users can grab a bicycle.
Relay launched in Atlanta in 2016 with 100 bikes at 22 stations, including one on Fifth Street in Tech Square. In April, it expanded to 500 bikes and 65 stations.
The service provides short-term bike rentals with check-out and check-in places around the city. The six stations on campus are on Techwood Drive at North Avenue, Tech Parkway near the Student Center Transit Hub, the Clough Commons turnaround, West Campus Housing on Turner Street, on Ferst Drive across from the Campus Recreation Center, and on Fifth Street in Tech Square.
“We’re thrilled to have six stations on campus and several more in the vicinity. The stations on campus are spaced in a way to create the most convenient options, based on where we expect the most demand, but if we need to adjust locations going forward we can do that,” said Lisa Safstrom, campus transportation planner in Parking and Transportation Services (PTS).
Pricing is structured for daily, monthly, or annual users. For the Tech community, users can get the benefit of an educational discount. Users who register with an email ending in “.edu” can get a monthly pass for $7.50 per month, which includes 90 minutes of daily ride time. For those who want to try it first or use a bike occasionally, daily passes are $3.50 and include 30 minutes of ride time.
Relay serves as a complement to the PTS BuzzBike rental program, which lets students rent bikes on a semester-long basis at an affordable rate.
“We’ve seen growing interest in cycling on and to campus, and now we’re able to provide options for those wishing to rent bikes long- or short-term,” said Safstrom. “The Relay program offers the opportunity for everybody to have a bike whenever they need it for short trips, without the responsibility of actually owning a bike.”
In recent years, PTS has upgraded campus infrastructure and worked with the City of Atlanta to improve routes to get to campus from nearby neighborhoods.
“Relay is a valuable piece of the puzzle in creating a great bike network on campus,” Safstrom said. “It also offers a valuable complement to transit, whether that’s MARTA or campus transit, to be able to get to campus or to transfer to another transportation mode. You might not live close enough to transit to walk to it, but it’s possible a bike share can get you there in a reasonable amount of time.”
Safstrom suggested that users try a Relay bike for quick trips, including lunch runs or nearby errands.
“You can pick up a bike on campus, ride to Piedmont Park or a restaurant downtown, drop off the bike, take your time, and find another bike to return,” she said.
Relay has bikes at both the North Avenue and Midtown MARTA stations, as well as others. A real-time map on the program’s website and its mobile app shows where and how many bikes are available at any given time.
All bikes have eight speeds, a bell, a basket, and GPS tracking that shows the length and route of rides.
According to data from the City of Atlanta, more than 5,000 people have taken 15,000 trips using Relay bicycles since the program began.
Having six stations on campus lets Georgia Tech help the network be useful citywide.
“The more stations that are available, the more successful a bike share program will be, as they need to be located densely enough to be easily available when needed,” Safstrom said.
Users can get started by signing up at relaybikeshare.com or through the Social Bikes smartphone app. Once you’ve set up an account and purchased a plan, you can unlock a bike with your account number and pin at any hub. To return a bike, simply lock it back at any Relay hub.
Watch a video from Midtown Atlanta on how to get started.