Flashfleet program keeps rolling on

Darian Thomas


Flashfleet, the new campuswide bike rental program, is doing better than expected and is looking for ways to improve the program.


The second-generation bike sharing system enables students and faculty to rent bikes for the day, using their FlashCard.

Kent State is one of the few universities across the United States to use this type of program.

Jason Hawk, marketing director at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, said that this program has been well received beyond their biggest dreams.

“Most of the bikes are usually gone, and I see them all over campus,” Hawk said. “This type of program will put Kent State in a forward moving direction and will make us trendsetters.”

Approximately 99 percent of the people who use the bikes are students, and it’s about equal distribution for males and females. Over 2,200 people have checked bikes out so far.

Two people have been hit by cars but not injured while riding the bikes,and one bike was stolen. Kim Rufra, associate director at the rec center, said the program was a huge success.

Rufra said originally Flashfleet was supposed to wrap up around Oct. 31. Because the weather stayed nice, the bikes will continue to be used until Thanksgiving.

At the end of the season, Rufra plans on inviting a committee to help with review, evaluation and improvements with the program.

The bikes have been holding up well besides some minor problems with flat tires and broken chains. A maintenance worker from the rec center checks the bikes daily to make sure they are operating smoothly.

A $20 late fee a day is given to those who return bikes late. First time offenders get a courtesy warning informing them about the program policy via e-mail.

Washington State University uses a similar bike-sharing program like this, and Kent State is well ahead of them in terms of usage, Hawk said.

Katelyn Grummel, a senior fashion design major and guest services supervisor at the rec, said that Flashfleet has been pretty positive and will hopefully continue.

“It’s pretty consistent for about two hours at a time, and it’s a lot of the same people checking out bikes,” Grummel said.

This new program has enhanced bike culture on campus. Rufra said not many people are aware that the diamond paths on both sides of the walkways are for bikers.

In the future, Rufra would like to see this second generation program turned into a third generation program. That would involve more places to check out and return bikes.

Rufra would also like to see the community get involved with Flashfleet, making the city of Kent more economical and having alternative transportation.

Kent State is also looking into a fourth generation program called the BIXI System, which would ultimately allow users to unlock bikes using a type of swipe card.

Contact Darian Thomas at [email protected].