CSUN to create own campus bike-sharing program with possible budget surplus – Daily Sundial

Anyone who has been at CSUN for over two years can remember a time when there were bright green LimeBikes, outfitted with adorable baskets, scattered around campus for students to rent and get around campus.

In March 2019, those bikes went missing when the company decided to end its contract with the campus, which saw more than 20,000 active users over its 13-month lifespan, choosing to focus on their electric scooter division.

The following year, Governor Gavin Newsom issued stay-at-home orders and the campus switched to online-only education, leaving facilities empty and staffing to a minimum.

The operating budget of the CSUN is financed by public funds, as well as revenue from tuition fees and service charges. Over the past two years, CSUN has seen a drop of over 30% in non-resident admissions. The drop in inflows, coupled with a reduced budget of $ 16 million from its previous budget of $ 489.6 million, resulted in an overall loss of $ 33 million, according to their FY2020 budget report- 2021.

Anthony Marquez gets on his bike after training at CSUN’s Student Recreation Center in Northridge, Calif. On Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Christopher Riscen)

However, all is not lost for the school. In July, CSUN was to receive $ 265 million in emergency funds through three rounds of funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, as well as the Emergency Aid Fund. for higher education.

CSUN has spent a large portion of its funds to help its students, for example spending $ 53.2 million on scholarships. According to its own accounts, the school was able to reduce its deficit from $ 30 million to just over $ 4 million per year with financial assistance from the state and federal governments.

Another good news came last June when the school received the largest private donation in its history: $ 40 million from MacKenzie Scott. Assuming that the school administration uses the money only to balance the deficit over the past two years, it will end up with a surplus.

The question now is how will the school decide to spend such a large amount of money that it had no intention of receiving?

There is a plethora of things the money could be spent on, from the ever-tempting tuition reimbursement for services not rendered during the pandemic, to upgrading facilities and equipment, although this has been done. already been provided with the money from the relief funds.

Personally, I think it would be great if these bikes made a comeback. Not necessarily LimeBikes, but any electric or standard bike. Hell, I would even take electric scooters.

Now e-bikes can get quite expensive. However, you can buy cheaper ones between $ 600 and $ 900 at retail; buy them in large quantity and the price can usually be reduced. Standard bikes, such as a cruiser, can be purchased for less than $ 200.

If the school were to buy 1,000 electric bicycles at a price of $ 900, that would represent an expense of less than a million dollars. But that number is much higher, as there were only 400 LimeBikes when they were still around, which makes the number of active users even more impressive.

Add in the cost of building a docking and rental system, similar to Los Angeles’ bike-sharing program, and the idea of ​​bringing rental bikes back to campus seems much more feasible. Docking stations would also solve the problem of bicycles littering the surrounding streets and alleys of the campus.

A study by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office estimated that the cost of the Los Angeles city-wide bike-sharing program costs between $ 3,000 and $ 5,000 per bike. This price includes the cost of the bicycles and the construction of the infrastructure necessary to build the system. Keep in mind that this was the cost of a citywide program in America’s second most populous city.

As for renting a bike, it could be as simple as scanning a student card, which would also make students more responsible for the bikes they rent.

The university places a heavy burden on students, both financially and mentally, and having a bike-sharing program to get around campus could provide a little respite from the daily stressors of college life.

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