Green Apple Bikes provide free transportation for residents

A white Green Apple Bike lays against a rack on the backside of Varneys on Dec. 7, 2015. There are nine bike racks around the Manhattan area offering bikes to be used by residents for four hours at a time. (Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

Green Apple Bikes have made their debut on campus as a new method of free transportation. Their business model is simple: There are nine Green Apple Bike racks around the city of Manhattan, each stocked with up to six bikes. Anyone is allowed to borrow them free of charge for up to four hours, and then they must return them, according to Linda Mays, executive assistant at CivicPlus.

The new nonprofit organization made its first appearance in Manhattan earlier this September, and students are already noticing its impact.

“Getting around campus, especially when it starts to get colder, can be a real pain and … I don’t want to walk, but I also can’t justify buying a bike,” Cal Robertson, sophomore in business administration, said. “But with Green Apple Bikes, I can go to their station that’s right by my house and use it for free.”

Mays said Green Apple Bikes was started with the goal of bringing a free transportation method to Manhattan, where similar programs wouldn’t normally be well-known.

“We want to bring a big-town amenity to a small town like Manhattan,” Mays said, “To have something here like that in Manhattan that is free to everybody, and the people of Manhattan support it, that’s a pretty big deal.”

Despite the free use of the bikes and the nonprofit status of the company, Green Apple Bikes does not require check-ins or credit card information for the purpose of accountability. Mays said she doesn’t view theft of the bikes as a problem.

“Most of the time, if a rack is empty it’s because all six bikes have been checked out,” Mays said.

Mays said she believes that requiring credit card information is unnecessary and counterproductive to the goal of the program.

“Requiring a credit card makes the program less accessible,” Mays said. “Not everyone has a credit card and that would hamper their ability to utilize this program, and I want everyone to be able to use it.”

Jacob Cindrich, freshman in kinesiology, said he uses the bikes to get to class nearly every day and has never had a problem.

“I use Green Apple Bikes to get to class just about every day, and just about every day there are the exact same amount of bikes in the rack, with a few exceptions,” Cindrich said. “Either the same people are using the same rack at or before the time I am every day, or they have had countless stolen and whoever is running the program has 1 million bikes to work with.”

Mays said she wants more people to become aware of it so they can benefit from the program.

“I can see it becoming a transportation system for everyone,” Mays said. “It’s a great way for transportation in general and for people who otherwise wouldn’t have ways to get around.”