Bike-Share Returns to Humboldt State

Humboldt State University, in partnership with the city of Arcata, launched the Humboldt Bike-Share service to help students, staff, and faculty get around campus and town while reducing their carbon footprint.

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Operated by Tandem Mobility, this service fills the local bike-share void created when Zagster, HSU’s first bike-share program, dissolved as a business in 2020.

“We are very excited to bring bike-share back to HSU and Arcata,” says Morgan King, climate action analyst with HSU’s Office of Sustainability. “Bike-sharing is a cost-effective approach to relieving traffic and parking constraints while benefiting human health and the environment. With this program, we are able to offer the campus community a convenient, affordable, and fun transportation option. It makes it that much easier for people to leave their cars at home.”

Bikes are available on campus at the Jolly Giant Commons and Harry Griffith Hall. Users must first download the mobile Movatic app and create an account. A bike is unlocked at the station by scanning its QR code. Students, faculty, and staff can either pay as they go ($1.50 per 30 minutes, up to $50 per ride) or, with a $20 annual membership get free trips under an hour and $1.50 per 30 minutes thereafter. Bikes can be returned to any station, including the Arcata Plaza.

The program is one of the several ways HSU is promoting bicycling. The Bicycle Learning Center is a student-run bike shop on campus providing tips, tools, and assistance for bike repair and maintenance. Students can also work with the BLC to rebuild and then keep bikes that have been abandoned on campus. In 2019 the League of American Bicyclists recognized HSU with a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) award, earning it a place alongside other bike-forward organizations across the country committed to building a more bicycle friendly America. To learn more about the BFB award, or to apply, visit the League online at bikeleague.org/business.

King initially worked with the City of Arcata four years ago to launch Humboldt County’s first bike-share program, which used bicycles and a mobile app powered by Zagster. Each year the program saw increases in ridership as more campus and community members and tourists used the convenient and affordable service.

“By 2020 the program had 1,216 active members and was going strong,” says King, “but the Covid-19 pandemic hit some micro-mobility companies like Zagster pretty hard, and as ridership plummeted the company had to cease its operations.”
Fortunately, other bike-share companies like Tandem Mobility have weathered the storm and are able to position themselves to enter the void left by Zagster.

HSU Housing & Residence Life pays for the Jolly Giant Commons station. The station at Harry Griffith Hall is supported by an alternative transportation fund and by a donation from HSU Zoology Professor Manuel Kaster, an avid cyclist who often commuted to campus by bicycle. He passed away in 2017 at the age of 86.

About Tandem Mobility
Founded in 2020, Tandem Mobility partners with Movatic software to deliver turnkey bike-share programs to communities and universities of all sizes. Tandem Mobility’s goal is to seamlessly manage the day to day operations of its bike-share programs so that communities can focus on improving their overall mobility and alternative transportation offerings.

This story was originally published June 2, 2021.