Students at Southern Arkansas University will be able to ride across the campus for free utilizing the new Mule Rides bicycle sharing system, inaugurated recently by SAU President Dr. Trey Berry.
“We are always looking for ways to improve our students’ experience and give them better access to activities,” Berry said in introducing the system. “We are doing that with our new bike share system.”
There are 30 Gotcha Bike-brand bicycles at four hubs on campus, at Magnolia Hall, the Reynolds Center, the Science Center and the Village Clubhouse. Carey Baker, dean of students, said the bikes can be reserved at no charge to students via an app called Social Bikes, which can be downloaded to smartphones.
Baker said students can ride any bike in the system for free for the first two hours of use, with the student’s credit card charged $2 per hour for each additional hour. There are no fees charged to students to reserve a bike through the app. The bikes themselves are beautifully-branded, well-constructed, and offer a smooth, quiet ride.
“You can ride from hub to hub and incur no cost,” Baker said. “If you can keep it to two hours, you can ride across all across Magnolia for free.”
The bikes will be a convenience for students needing to get from one side of the campus to another. Each bike is outfitted with GPS technology. “We can monitor biking patterns and change up the hubs if we need to, based on how students are using them,” Baker said.
Berry and David Nelson, a member of the SAU Board of Trustees, were the first to take bikes on a brief ride around the Mall.
Berry thanked Baker and the Student Government Association, among other groups and individuals, for making the system possible.