By Peyton Smith | Echo
The Taylor Bike Kitchen is releasing Taylor Taxi's directly to students. The two options available are a free, short-term rental or paid, semester-long rental.
The Taylor Taxi program has moved to a checkout system, similar to a library loan, because of previous misuse of the bikes, according to academic sponsor Mike Guebert. Taylor students and staff are now welcome to come by the Bike Kitchen during its varying open hours and check out a Taylor Taxi at no cost for two weeks. In addition, for a small cost, students can rent either a Taylor Taxi or a non-yellow bike for a whole semester. The exact amount of renting bikes for a semester is yet to be decided.
Two-week rentals are free but require customers to sign a contract agreeing to properly maintain bikes and promptly report any issues or problems with their bikes to the staff. The rental also includes a lock. Lock use is mandatory to ensure the person who checked out the bike is the only one riding it. After two weeks, the user can either return the Taylor Taxi or renew the rental (as long as there isn't a wait list).
Semester-long rentals also use the customer contract, locks and return process. To rent one of the available bikes, the renter must put down a returnable security deposit on the bike in addition to a fee of $10-25. The security deposit amount is still undecided. The fee will cover the use of the Taxi for the whole semester, and, if the bike is returned in good condition, the security deposit will be returned when the bike is returned.
In November, the Taylor Bike Kitchen rented out fifteen Taxis, and only two have had issues. Senior and student manager of the UpCycle Project (the project that started and runs the Taylor Taxi Bike Kitchen), Sean Maynor, reported those two were replaced with other working ones and the Kitchen repaired the Taxis with issues. The new adjustments to the program appear to have helped the process run more smoothly thus far according to Maynor.
As previously reported in The Echo, grant funding for the project was running low. Though the grant never actually reached full depletion, it was recently renewed. The Taylor Taxi program received a $3000 grant from the Women's Giving Circle to use until Summer 2017. The program is actively seeking funding to ensure the future of the program.
Maynor felt a renewed hope as he observed the effect of the program's restructuring.