Bike-share Program Comes to Duke

A new way to travel on campus debuts 

Students Lavanya Sunder and Ray Li pose with new bicycles that will be part of the Zagster bike-share program for students, faculty and staff. With an annual fee, bikes will be available for rent beginning this month. Photo by Chris Heltne.
Students Lavanya Sunder and Ray Li pose with new bicycles that will be part of the Zagster bike-share program for students, faculty and staff. With an annual fee, bikes will be available for rent beginning this month. Photo by Chris Heltne.

There’s a new way for Duke community members to get around campus, and it doesn’t involve a car or bus.

Duke has selected bike-share program Zagster to bring 50 rentable bicycles to campus to be used by students, faculty and staff. Similar to initiatives in Washington, D.C. and New York City, Zagster allows users to sign up for a $20 annual fee that provides unlimited bike rentals for up to three hours at a time. An additional $20 pre-pays for rider “credits” that are used to pay for any additional time when a bike is rented, which costs $2 per hour.

To sign up, Duke community members must be at least 18 years old and have a valid duke.edu email address. Reservations can be made online or with a mobile app.

The Zagster program is collaborative partnership between Duke Student Government and Student Affairs, the Provost’s office, Parking and Transportation Services, and others. Zagster staff will begin setting up infrastructure for the program at on Sept. 22 with a goal of having bikes ready for rental by the end of that week.

“Biking is a fun, convenient, and easy way to get around small geographical areas, and Duke’s campus is a perfect space for a contemporary bike-share program,” said Alison Carpenter, manager of Duke’s transportation demand management program. “Duke students and employees will be able to hop on a bike for a short, five-minute ride between destinations and return the bike to any Zagster rack without having to think ahead.”

Special bike racks will be at four locations across Duke:

  • East Campus bus stop
  • Central Campus bus stop by the Anderson Street-Lewis Street intersection
  • Kilgo Quad
  • Walkway between Social Sciences and Allen buildings

Carpenter said the new program is an ideal complement to Duke’s car-sharing relationship with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Students and employees have even more incentive now to make sustainable transportation choices or leave a car at home, she added.

Each bike is equipped with seven gears, front and rear LED lights, a bell, and a front basket. Fenders and a chain guard help keep clothing clean and a U-lock allows users to lock the bike anywhere. Bikes also have GPS monitors to deter theft and keep track of which bikes are where and how many are available for use.

Registered users can rent a bike using Zagster’s app on iPhone or Android devices, using a mobile site or by texting from the bike’s location. To end a rental session, users can return their bike to any Duke Zagster station with spaces available.

“Students and employees make many short trips around campus each day, so bike-sharing can offer an easier and healthier alternative to driving,” said Casey Roe, outreach coordinator for Sustainable Duke. “Easy access to bikes will reduce on-campus carbon emissions from transportation, which is a key piece of our goal to become carbon neutral by 2024.”

Students and employees can sign up for Zagster now through the company’s website. A list of frequently asked questions and answers about the program can be found online as well as a Duke-specific FAQ page.