By Chris Miller
In addition to a number of new buildings, restaurants, and waterfront attractions, students returning to campus may have noticed a multitude of red bicycles scattered around parts of the city. These conspicuous bikes are part of Buffalo’s new Reddy bikeshare program – a program that enables visitors and residents to quickly rent a bike using a self-service pad located on the bike itself.
The program utilizes 200 bikes, which are located at dozens of stations throughout the city, and are intended to make commuting via bicycle more accessible. The bikes themselves are user-friendly and feature an integrated locking system, front and rear lights, and a basket for hauling groceries or other belongings.
The majority of Reddy stations are located between the Elmwood Village and Canalside, but additional stations are located in North Buffalo, at the Broadway Market, and throughout the West Side. Canisius students and staff can enjoy easy access as well, since there is a six-bike Hub conveniently located on Main Street outside of Science Hall.
Renting a bike requires users to sign up through the website or the Social Bicycles app, which can be downloaded for free. Users will select the Buffalo network, choose a payment plan, and enter some basic identifying information to complete the sign-up process. Once a credit card has been placed on file, a bike can be reserved or checked out for immediate use.
Three payment plans are available – an hourly pass for visitors and locals who are occasional users, an annual pass for frequent users, or a group pass for up to four riders. The hourly pass, valid for thirty days, has an $8.50 activation fee and costs six cents per minute that the bike is checked out. The annual pass costs $55 and one cent for each minute of use. The group pass works in similar fashion to the hourly pass, but the initial cost is $20 and it covers up to four riders.
Unlike bike share programs in New York City and Toronto, riders are able to park their Reddy bike at any rack in the city – albeit for a small fee at times. The core areas of the system include Canisius, Elmwood Avenue, and Allentown. These are free parking zones where users will not incur any additional charges when they end their ride at any rack within these zones, Reddy station or not. Ending a ride at a Reddy station outside of the free parking zone is also free of charge. The additional fee is incurred when users lock to a non-Reddy bike rack outside of the free parking zone. Currently the cost is $2 – a price many will gladly pay to park their bike at the front door of their destination.
Reddy bikes may not be a replacement for your car or your daily commuter bike, but they offer another option for inexpensive and maintenance-free transportation. Because they can be left in a different station than they were rented from, they compliment other forms of transportation.
Despite the harsh winters, Buffalo is a good city for bike commuting given its flat topography, relative density, and growing number of bike lanes and pathways. Reddy bikeshare will undoubtedly contribute to this emerging trend and bring more people into the world of clean, active, two-wheeled transportation and recreation.
If you are interested in finding out more, Reddy bikeshare representatives will be hosting a group ride on Friday, September 16 at 3PM. They will have Reddy bikes available at the meeting place in front of Palisano, but students are free to participate with their own personal bikes as well. Reddy bikeshare will also have a table set up at Fall Fest on September 24, where they will answer questions about how the program works and assist with the sign-up process.