Georgetown University announced a new low-cost partnership with the Capital Bikeshare University Program to make bicycling more financially accessible for students.
Capital Bikeshare allows users the opportunity to temporarily rent bikes and park them at various stations throughout Washington, D.C. Georgetown’s partnership with the Bikeshare program will decrease annual membership costs for Capital Bikeshare from $85 to $25 for all Georgetown undergraduate, graduate, Law Center and Medical Center students, according to a Nov. 18 email from the Office of Planning and Facilities Management
Capital Bikeshare has approximately 4,500 bikes throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia, including a docking station for bikes directly outside the front gates of the university.
Currently, 5% of Georgetown University commuters use bikes to get to campus, according to the university website. The Bikeshare program could have positive environmental impacts as more students are incentivized to use bikes over other, less sustainable modes of travel, according to Audrey Stewart, director of the Office of Sustainability.
“The new Capital Bikeshare discount program helps advance sustainability at the university by making it more convenient and more affordable for students to choose bicycling, a carbon-free mode of transportation,” Stewart wrote in an email to The Hoya.
In addition to the discounted annual rate, the program also allows students to obtain discounts on helmets from local bicycle shops such as Bicycle Pro Shop on M Street, and grants the opportunity to attend a free Washington Area Bicyclist Association Confident City Cycling class, which teaches students of varying skill levels how to handle bikes and maneuver on bike trails.
Initiatives started by the Georgetown University Student Association and Georgetown University Graduate Student Government encouraged the university to join the Bikeshare program, according to a university email.
GUSA senator Joshua Marin-Mora (SFS ’21), who serves as the transportation and accessibility policy chair for the Senate, introduced a resolution calling for the university to adopt the discounted student Bikeshare program this past summer. The resolution received unanimous support during the regular term senate this fall in a vote Sept. 15.
The GUSA executive branch has also contributed to the initiative in meetings with the administration, according to Nicolo Ferretti (SFS ’21), director of university affairs for GUSA. Ferretti, alongside GUSA Transportation Policy Coalition Chair Clay Volino (SFS ’22), met with administrators earlier this semester to work through the university approval process, according to Ferretti.
The Bikeshare initiative was attractive to both GUSA and administrators because of the program’s easy implementation, according to Ferretti.
“It quickly became one of our best project prospects because it didn’t require any university funding but only approval and a school-wide email,” Ferretti wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Georgetown’s terrain poses difficulties for student cyclists. The League of American Bicyclists, an organization that promotes bicycle-friendly culture in the United States, deemed Georgetown a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly university. The determination denotes that Georgetown cyclists face many physical obstacles to accessible cycling both at the university and within the District.
The initiative will hopefully make cycling more financially accessible for students despite physical impediments on campus, according to Ferretti.
“GUSA Transportation is always looking for ways to make the campus more accessible and give students ways to get out of the Georgetown bubble,” Ferretti wrote. “This program is a win for many of our teams.”
Students can register for the program on the Capital Bikeshare website, where they can confirm their eligibility as students of the university to apply the discount. Once registered, students are free to use the Capital Bikeshare program for a year before needing to renew their membership.
Although the campus poses physical challenges for cyclists, the university has previously launched initiatives, including free monthly Bike Commuting 101 classes and 1,100 bicycle parking spaces across campus, to encourage bike riding. The Bikeshare program will be a welcome addition to the existing programs, according to Lindsey Bullen, a university transportation demand manager.
“Georgetown is proud to offer other biking resources and services to students, faculty and staff,” Bullen wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We are thrilled to be able to add an affordable, convenient, fun, and active program for our undergraduate, graduate, Law Center, and Medical Center students.”