Bike-Share Program Rolls Toward 2,000 Rides

Students, employees use Zagster to get around Duke

Susan Jennings rides on a rented Zagster bike on West Campus. All Duke community members can sign up for the bike-share program, which has bike racks on East, Central and West campuses. Photo by Bryan Roth.
Susan Jennings rides on a rented Zagster bike on West Campus. All Duke community members can sign up for the bike-share program, which has bike racks on East, Central and West campuses. Photo by Bryan Roth.

Susan Jennings doesn’t own a bicycle, but she is excited for spring, when she’ll borrow a bike and roll through Duke Gardens or shorten her trips to meetings across campus.

Jennings has access to dozens of bikes as a member of Zagster, a bike-share program with about 50 bicycles stations across East, West and Central campuses. Zagster is available to all Duke faculty, staff and students who sign up for the program.

“It’s a little something fun that I can do and it saves me a few minutes every time I do it,” said Jennings, a staff assistant with Duke’s Academic Council. “It’s helped me develop my biking abilities, and I definitely want to use it more when the weather is nicer to take a ride during lunch and get some exercise.”

She signed up for the program in December for a one-time annual cost of $20 that offers unlimited bike rentals for up to three hours. She’s used Zagster about a dozen times to ride a bike from the Crowell Quad to the Social Sciences Building, next to where she works in Allen.

Along with Jennings, nearly 200 other Duke community members signed up for the program since it debuted in September, racking up about 2,000 uses of Zagster bikes along the way.

To sign up for Zagster, 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. 

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.

Special bike racks for Zagster bikes are located at four spots at Duke:

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

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.

“Cutting across campus on a bike is a lot quicker than getting into a car, going out to 751 then trying to find parking,” said David Schmidt, assistant director for regional engagement with Alumni Affairs who’s used Zagster about 10 times to get to meetings. “I like riding a bike and seeing campus at a human level so you can really enjoy it.”

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.