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Dockless Bike Sharing System Looks to Improve Transportation at Furman, Spread Through Region

A rider can find the locations of available bikes by GPS.
Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio
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A rider can find the locations of available bikes by GPS.
The orange Spin bicycle has become a familiar sight on the Furman campus.  The experimental dockless bike sharing system allows riders to pick up and leave the bikes anywhere they like after using them at a reasonable price.
Credit Tut Underwood/SC Public Radio
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The orange Spin bicycle has become a familiar sight on the Furman campus. The experimental dockless bike sharing system allows riders to pick up and leave the bikes anywhere they like after using them at a reasonable price.

Bicycle sharing systems have popped up in cities – especially tourism cities - in the past few years, but a new innovation being tested at Furman University may take transportation at the Upstate college to the next level.  It’s called dockless bike sharing, and according to Dr. Weston Dripps, director of Furman’s Shi Center for Sustainability, older bike sharing systems require a person to go to a docking station to pick up the bike, and return it to that or another docking station, which may be inconvenient. 

With dockless sharing, the student, after once downloading the app on  his/her cell phone, can find an unused bike parked anywhere on campus, scan the QR code which unlocks the bike, hop on and ride anywhere he wishes, and when he’s through, simply hits “end trip” on the app and leaves the bike for someone else to use, with the nominal fee – 50 cents per half hour – charged to his credit card.  Student Jackson Ferrell loves the system, as it allows him to zip around campus  without looking for a parking place for his car, saving time and money.  The system was introduced in Seattle, and Furman is the first college campus to use the bikes, which are tracked by GPS.  Dripps says the system is spreading quickly, and if it continues its initial success at Furman, could spread to other cities soon, including some in the Palmetto State.  

Tut Underwood is producer of South Carolina Focus, a weekly news feature. A native of Alabama, Tut graduated from Auburn University with a BA in Speech Communication. He worked in radio in his hometown before moving to Columbia where he received a Master of Mass Communications degree from the University of South Carolina, and worked for local radio while pursuing his degree. He also worked in television. He was employed as a public information specialist for USC, and became Director of Public Information and Marketing for the South Carolina State Museum. His hobbies include reading, listening to music in a variety of styles and collecting movies and old time radio programs.