Chicago-based VeoRide will be the new bikeshare company used by Kent State for its Flashfleet service on campus.
VeoRide describes itself as a “micromobility share company” that specializes in bikes, motorized bikes and e-scooters. Their bikes work on a “dockless system,” without the use of a bike rack; the lock is on the front tire and circles through the wheel spokes.
“One of the reasons why we [Kent State University] chose VeoRide is because their system for checking out the bikes is very simple,” Chris Lukas, assistant director of Outdoor Adventure at Kent State, said. “It’s very easy to manage your account and check out bikes when you wanna check them out.”
Through the previous bikeshare nextbike, 60 bikes were available for use on campus and in the downtown Kent area. There were nine bike racks—five on campus and four downtown—and each bike had to be returned and locked up at one of the racks.
“I think there will be more bikes than there were with the previous service,” Lukas said. “And more options as far as locations to pick the bikes up from and drop the bikes back off at the end of everyone’s rides.”
The City of Kent ordinance, issued May 15, 2019, said Kent State Department of Recreational Services hopes Kent State students, faculty, staff, visitors and Kent workers will use the vehicles, but the system is “to primarily be for student usage and benefit.” All the pedal bikes and motorized bikes will be branded with Kent State colors.
The ordinance also said the service [VeoRide] will be operated year round and “reduced services are expected during the winter season.” VeoRide is also responsible for the storage and maintenance of the bikes.
VeoRide made an initial deployment of 20 pedal bikes on May 8, and added 30 more on May 9. By the start of the fall semester, there will be 100 pedal bikes, 68 electric bikes (bikes with supplemental motors for propulsion), 10 fat-tire bikes and two ADA-compliant handcycles.
The pedal bikes are available to rent at a discount for Kent State students and staff. The options when renting a pedal bike are either by an hourly rate of 15 cents for 15 minutes or a membership plan of $13.99 per month. For community members, the membership costs $25.99 per month.
All other vehicles on campus are available by the hour.
Riders can download the VeoRide app on their devices and locate a nearby bike. The rider then can turn on Bluetooth and enter the bike’s ID in the app or scan a QR code to unlock the bike and start riding.
There will be several designated parking locations throughout campus, rather than the bike racks like before. The vehicles will be tracked via GPS and use “geofencing” for the boundaries of parking locations and campus grounds. Taking a bike past the boundaries surrounding campus will result in higher fees for their retrieval.
Marissa Moore is a correspondent. Contact her at email@example.com.
Editor's note: updates were made to the original version of this story to include the prices of renting the bikes.