tZagster — a bike sharing company based in Cambridge, Mass. — is bringing 50 bikes to General Motors’ Warren Technical Center to assist the company’s 19,000 employees with their commutes between the more than 60 buildings on the 330-acre campus.
t“The campus is one square mile with over 11 miles of roads,” says David Tulauskas, GM director of sustainability. “It’s not unlikely to travel a couple of miles between buildings for meetings, and (the bike sharing program) helps employees save time, gas, and greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also cheaper and safer (than driving).”
tTo participate, an employee registers online and reserves a bike through text message or a smartphone app that provides an access code to unlock the lock box mounted on the bike, which comes equipped with a basket to safely transport a laptop, notebook, and other small belongings.
tRiders must wear helmets and use bells to alert pedestrians when they are approaching. Based on a pilot program in July, users reserved a bike for about two hours on average, Tulauskas says.
tAnd, yes, Tulauskas knows what you’re thinking.
t“For a lot of people, it may seem counterintuitive for a car company to have a bike sharing program on their campus, but it’s really not,” Tulauskas says. “We're looking at being part of the disruption happening in the automotive industry today. There are countries and regions where bikes are popular, where urban centers are so congested that the value proposition of a personal automobile is changing quickly. So all of this is really front and center when our employees decide to take a bike.”
tGM’s program expands Zagster’s existing service in Detroit, which has been used by more than 2,750 users in the last year, says Timothy Ericson, co-founder and CEO of Zagster.
t“Private enterprises in Detroit, like General Motors, have stepped up to provide bike services to their employees,” Ericson says. “By funding and implementing these resources in a way that the local government can’t, these companies are making Detroit a better place to live, work, and play.”