Drowned. Stolen. Hanged.
Bikes at Taylor have endured many hardships in the past, but The UpCycle Project hopes to save them through the return of the Taylor Taxi program.
Through Taylor Taxi, bikes are now available across campus for students to rent for a 30-hour period. This is part of Professor of Geology and Environmental Science Mike Guebert’s long-term efforts to make Taylor a certified bike-friendly campus.
If anyone is in need of a bike, students can now go to their residence hall’s front desk during the operating hours of 2 p.m. to 12 a.m., pay a dollar and leave their name. They then will be given a lock and operation of the bike until 12 a.m. the following day.
Junior Matt Wildman is the newest student hire of the program after responding to an ad in the student announcements. His sister was on campus when the Taylor Taxi program existed, the previous bike-sharing service. When the opportunity presented itself for Wildman to join, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I saw an email in the student announcements of Dr. Guebert who was looking for student workers to work on bikes,” Wildman said. “It was perfect.”
Taylor Taxi started in 2015 through a group project in the Environmental Science Society and Sustainability class. The program placed 40 bikes across campus with free for student use. However, because students did not have any financial obligation to care for them, many ended up in trees and lakes, and others were never seen again. At the end of the year, only half were in working condition.
In the following years, the bikes were available under lock and key for two weeks at a time. The problem was the program was not sustainable, as revenue was needed in order to maintain the bikes. For the last two years, they were available for $20 a semester.
This year, Guebert is hoping that easily accessible bikes for short periods of time will encourage students to ride a bike instead of driving.
Geubert and Director of Residence Life Scott Barrett, who has helped residents halls reestablish the program personally participate in this by riding their own bikes to work each day.
“If you think about it in terms of sustainability, we're thinking of people, planet and profit,” Guebert said. “It’s an advantage to people for their health and your well being, your social engagement.”
The Taylor Taxi program is a way for students to practice sustainability and to help contribute to its continued success.
Freshman Josiah Gritter strongly encourages students to get this program off the ground by helping in any way they can.
“If you have bikes that you're not using or you're getting rid of, or you know someone with free bikes, we will gladly take bikes to implement so that there's more,” Gritter said.
Guebert wants to encourage students at Taylor to consider the amount they drive and their carbon footprint as a whole. He is currently working with students to work toward making Taylor’s campus certifiably bike-friendly.
This may be a long process, but there are existing steps on campus to work towards this. Student usage of the Taylor Taxi program is the first step.