Pitt announces unlimited bike share rides for first-years


Thomas Yang | Assistant Visual Editor

Pitt first-years and resident assistants will receive unlimited 30-minute bike rides with Healthy Ride for the upcoming fall and spring semester.

By Emily Wolfe, News Editor

Save a 10A. Ride a bicycle.

All Pitt first-years and resident assistants will receive unlimited free 30-minute bike rides with Pittsburgh bike share company Healthy Ride throughout the fall and spring semesters of the 2019-2020 academic year, Healthy Ride announced Monday.

The company worked with Pitt sustainability director Aurora Sharrard to develop the partnership. While Port Authority ConnectCard holders receive unlimited 15-minute rides, this partnership is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh.

“Sustainability is an important part of our campus culture and this is an exciting way for our first years to begin their own sustainability journey,” Sharrard said in the press release.

Currently, users can rent a bike from a Healthy Ride station using several methods, including a membership card, and return it to any station. The bikes cost $2 per 30-minute rental, or $12 per month for unlimited 30-minute rides. With more than 4,000 students in the class of 2023, eight months of free rides is at least a $384,000 value.

According to the release, Healthy Ride drew a record number of riders in 2019 and anticipates a ridership boost from the partnership with Pitt.

The question of the program’s extension beyond this academic year — and beyond the first-year class — depends on the success of the pilot program, Sharrard told The Pitt News in an email.

“Early feedback indicates students are thrilled to have access to unlimited 30-minute rides,” Sharrard wrote. “We will be monitoring activation and usage to fully assess the future of this pilot program beyond Spring 2020.”

Healthy Ride has a number of locations on or near campus where students can pick up a bike, including stations at Schenley Plaza, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and the Carnegie Library.

David White, the executive director of Pittsburgh Bike Share, said in the release he hopes first-year students will use the bikes to explore Pittsburgh and make bike trips a part of their transit routines.

“There are a lot of places students can get in 30 minutes, and bikes are a great way to get to know a new city,” White said.

Several sustainability groups in the City encourage Pittsburghers to bike in place of driving or taking the bus when possible. Cycling organization BikePGH promotes cycling through events like Open Streets, where streets are temporarily closed to car traffic, and the annual charity ride Pedal Pittsburgh.