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OSU Announces Zagster as Bike-Share Partner

Walker Evans Walker Evans OSU Announces Zagster as Bike-Share Partner
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The Ohio State University announced today that it has officially selected Zagster to service the campus with a new bike-share system. Zagster, which also launched a bike-share program at Easton Town Center last summer, will deploy 115 bicycles to 15 stations across the campus this year.

“Our students, and the entire university community, have unique needs and we believe Zagster’s proposal offers the most comprehensive and cost-effective solution,” said Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Ohio State vice provost for Capital Planning and Regional Campuses.

The 15 station locations have not been fully finalized, but Evans-Cowley stated that the University made a suggestion for placements in their RFP based on feedback from students, faculty and staff. (Click the map of suggested stations below to enlarge)


“The stations will be in the standard locations you’d expect to see them,” she said. “And we have committed to the City of Columbus to work with them to expand the CoGo Bike Share system to the edges of campus to create and nurture a hybrid-system so that the surrounding community can travel to campus.”

Details on what that hybrid system might look like aren’t quite figured out at this point in time, but the openness to connectivity does help to address concerns that have been raised by the community over the fear of having two incompatible systems. When asked if a CoGo bikeshare rider would have the ability to dock at a CoGo station at the edge of campus and transfer easily over to a Zagster bike, Evans-Cowley said that was one possibly.

“Unfortunately, it’s not possible to have one pass for both systems,” she explained. “But we do have the option for day passes so that CoGo members could use a day pass on campus and vice versa. Students will also be able to take Zagster bikes off campus, as each one comes with a standard lock.”

Zagster bikes will available for one hour checkout times on weekdays and three hour checkout times on weekends with a standard membership. Longer use would result in an additional hourly fee. The setup is similar to CoGo, which has a 30 minute checkout timeframe before additional fees are applied.

Memberships for the Zagster system at OSU would be available to OSU students, faculty and staff. Pricing has not been finalized, but Evans-Cowley said that their proposal asked for a membership rate of around $35 per year. A CoGo membership is currently $75 per year.

“While we are disappointed not to have an opportunity to provide a bike share solution that would be more integrated with the greater Columbus community, we wish OSU the best of luck with this project,” stated Heather Bowden, General Manager of CoGo Bike Share.

The program is scheduled to soft-launch this summer with a full rollout expected by the time fall semester begins. In addition to standard commuter bicycles, the system will also feature tandem bikes, cargo bikes, heavy duty bikes, hand cycles and electric-assisted bikes.

“We’ll be the first system to test this flexible model with a variety of bikes, so part of the experiment will to see if there’s wide spread usage of those special bikes based on interest and use,” said Evans-Cowley. “We expect to be able to expand to up to around 170 bikes in the system.”

For more information, visit www.zagster.com.

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  • loudiamondtabs

    While it is a shame that OSU isnt going to be a part of the greater COGO network, COGO was much, much, more expensive than any other system that submitted proposals. If u look into the evolution of bike shares, the bike station/kiosk model is already outdated. Most companies are shifting away from that model, to offer a cheaper product. These newer systems have bikes that can go into an older station, or use a newer locking bicycle method. COGO and Motivate has decided not to evolve or offer a cheaper product. OSU rejecting them should be a wake up call, otherwise Columbus may wind up with an unsupported dated system.

    • UrbanLegend

      Motivate currently manages all of the largest bikeshare systems in the United States and many of the largest systems in the world, including Citi Bike (NYC), Divvy (Chicago), CoGo Bike Share (Columbus, OH), Capital Bike Share (Washington DC, Arlington, VA, Alexandria, VA and Montgomery County, MD), Hubway (Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, and Brookline, MA), Bay Area Bike Share (BABS, San Francisco Bay Area), Bike Chattanooga (TN), Bike Share Toronto and Melbourne Bike Share, Australia. Motivate recently launched Pronto Cycle Share in Seattle, Washington, and was recently selected to launch a new system in Jersey City, New Jersey that will be compatible with Citi Bike.

      But yeah, you’re right. They don’t know what they’re doing.

  • UrbanLegend

    From what I understand, this decision likely came down to clauses in the CampusParc contract, plain and simple. A seamless CoGo system would have threatened future parking revenue, any loss of which OSU has to compensate them for. Thanks to the 50-year contract they signed, OSU can’t do anything that could reduce the number of people driving to and parking on campus.

    • DouginCMH

      You mean like this?


      The COTA agreement blows out of the water any impact that a bike share program could have on parking.

      • UrbanLegend

        I agree in terms of impact, but that’s an existing agreement that predates the parking privatization, and so its effect would have been accounted for in the baseline revenue projections for the CampusParc agreement. It can’t undo existing conditions, but it can prevent future competition.

    • DouginCMH

      Or like this?


      “The Central Ohio Transit Authority’s board of trustees agreed on Wednesday to extend discounted monthly passes that can be purchased as a pre-tax payroll deduction to about 35,000 Ohio State employees starting in May.”

  • loudiamondtabs

    That is completely incorrect. It came down to 15-20 Zagster stations for the same price as 4 Cogo stations. Yes, Motivate may be expanding, but there are over 200 different types of bike share systems in the world right now, and the technology is in its infancy. I wouldn’t tie myself down to one type of technology yet, especially one as expensive as the Cogo/motivate/station model. The only advantage Cogo offered was connectivity. If they had offered a better product OSU would have definitely chosen them.

  • UrbanLegend

    “The only advantage Cogo offered was connectivity.”

    When you’re trying to offer a viable transportation option, connectivity is pretty freaking important. When a university like OSU has virtually bottomless pockets and is making billion-dollar investments all over campus, cost is a pretty sad excuse to fall back on. It’s like copping out on a rail system because it’s too expensive. Yes, it’s expensive up-front. But the payoff makes it worth it.

    There’s a difference between “more cost-effective” and “less costly.” And it would be more appropriate to characterize this decision as the latter, rather than the former. They may be paying much less, but they’re getting less, too.

    Zagster’s tagline: “We’re the experts in PRIVATE bike share.” Boy if that doesn’t just boil down the essential issue here into one sentence. OSU chose to implement a private system rather be a part of the public system. And it’s a damn shame.

    Congratulations on a short-sighted, isolationist decision that sells students, faculty, staff, and the community far short of what they deserve.

  • loudiamondtabs

    “They are getting less too”

    4 stations, and maybe 40 bikes $75 per year per student
    15 stations and 115 bikes $35 per year per year per student

    But you’re right, it is all a dark conspiracy related to parking contracts and privatization. It has nothing to do with the desire to provide the best network for the student population with the money available.

  • justmytwocents

    I lived in DC for 2 years and I didn’t own a car. It was wonderful. The metro, the bike share system, and the occasional cab downtown fulfilled my every transportation need. My issue with this decisions is that all of the selling points of Zagster cater to a nice leisurely hour long stroll along the Olentangy river trail with your significant other on a sunny Sunday afternoon—a bike rental service. COGO is an alternative means of transportation and it’s only as useful as the stations it has. I moved to Columbus excited to utilize the new COGO system, but quickly found out the system was young and growing. It’s been exciting to watch the growth into Grandview and Franklinton, and I’m excited to take advantage of the system this summer. Its unfortunate that OSU students will not have this opportunity. The beauty to COGO is that you can bike to a destination, dock the bike, and forget about it. You can meet a friend and catch a ride home. You can cab home. You can walk elsewhere.

    Zagster isn’t geared towards this use. It’s a rental bike service. If I want to bike somewhere, lock it up out front, and bike home, I will take my own bike. After Zagster is implemented and anyone living on campus who would like to go to Jeni’s on High will drive there, even though there’s a COGO station on the curb out front. If they’d like to go to Goodale park, they’ll drive. Sure it’ll be nice to get to and from class, but it’s a very narrow solution that isolates campus residence from the city.

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