On Oct. 3, UCLA officially launched its Bruin Bike Share program, allowing students and faculty members, as well as those who are not affiliated with UCLA, to rent bikes to ease their transportation around campus and Westwood Village.
This program is beneficial to the UCLA community because our campus is large and hilly. The objective of the bike share program is for students to get around campus faster and to be able to bike around Westwood Village to run errands such as grocery shopping.
The bike share program also offers several payment plans, such as the annual plan, which is priced at $60 a year for UCLA-affiliated renters. The plan provides 90 minutes of daily ride time and charges $0.12 per minute for any additional riding time. Adding on the option to rent a bike for an hour for $7, the program could be a cheaper alternative for students because taking an Uber to Ralphs from the hill costs around $3 per one-way trip.
Paying for the bike rental is easy as it is all done through the Social Bicycles app. Renters need not worry about finding a place to lock their bikes since there are currently 18 hubs around campus and Westwood Village.
Vy Nguyen, a fourth-year chemistry student, thinks that the bike share program is efficient and cheap.
“If a student has (a) 10-minute break to run from a class in North Campus to another class in South Campus, they can rent a bike monthly … to transport without worrying (about) coming late to class. It also helps UCLA students to go explore around Westwood,” Nguyen said.
The bike share program is not the only way that students can rent bikes on campus, as the Bike Library offers students quarterly bike rentals for $65.
Zahra Hajee, a third-year psychobiology student and Undergraduate Students Association Council facilities commissioner, thinks that the bike share program promotes a healthy lifestyle and is a more sustainable means of transportation.
Hajee believes that it would be useful if UCLA’s bike share program could connect to other bike share programs around the area, such as the Metro Bike Share, enabling students to park their bikes in hubs outside of Westwood. This would give students a more convenient means of transportation around Los Angeles.
UCLA transportation launched the “20 is Plenty” campaign Sept. 26, lowering the campus speed limit to 20 mph. This initiative was introduced around the same time as the bike share program and the designated Uber and Lyft pickup spots.
“There is an overarching theme of making UCLA a more pedestrian-friendly campus,” Hajee said, even though campus initiatives are independent of one another.
While this program is intended to make transportation around UCLA more convenient, I think that UCLA is not a very bike-friendly campus. Therefore, the bike share program will be most practical when students are biking around Westwood and not when trying to travel back and forth from classes.
The numerous hills around campus make it difficult for biking. Dismount zones along Bruin Walk and around Ackerman Union also create a minor inconvenience to bikers. This is because Bruin Walk and the area around Ackerman Union are central campus locations, making the route through these two areas the most probable one that bikers would take.
Biking to and from class may not be significantly faster than walking because of the sea of students on campus. This forces bikers to navigate their way through crowds of students, which could potentially cause an accident.
The UCLA bike share program nevertheless is a useful initiative that provides students with more options for transportation. Students can now rent bikes for a reasonable price without having to worry about storage. Biking is also a more environmentally friendly means of transportation as compared to motor vehicles, and it also provides the added benefit of burning calories.