RVA Bike Share returns from shutdown, offers free rides until end of year

One of the 25 BikeShare stations. Photo by Jay Stonefield.

Arika Fields, Contributing Writer

Jessica Vigil, Contributing Writer

Selna Shi, News Editor

Local bicycle rental system RVA Bike Share has returned from a hiatus that began in May, with plans to offer unlimited two-hour free rides to all users until Dec. 31, according to the City of Richmond and RVA Bike Share website.

If riders choose to extend their ride past the two-hour rental time, riders will be charged $3 for every 30 minutes over rental time, according to the website.

The program was abruptly shut down due to the previous contractor’s, Bewegen Technologies, sudden cease of operation, according to a press release.

WeGo-Share and Evolve Mobility are now handling RVABike Share’s technology-related needs, the city stated in a press release.

RVA Bike Share has stations in 25 locations throughout Richmond. There are three locations central to Monroe Park Campus including Monroe Park, Sydney Park, and Broad & Harrison, according to the RVA Bike Share app.

Some users have expressed how the program and the app can improve.

Kamora Irving, a first-year student, said downloading and setting up the RVA Bike Share app in order to access the bikes was a long process.

“We downloaded the app and it asked for our names, address, phone number and emails,” Irving said. “It said it was free for five months, but when we tried to unlock it, it wasn’t working. I guess there’s like a status, like we need to be approved. So getting approved takes a little long, 15 minutes to two hours.”

Although the app was difficult for Irving to use, she said she enjoyed the bikes because “they go fast.”

Another first-year student, Katheline Florian, also said that the app was difficult to use and she could not unlock the bikes the first time she tried. 

“It [the app] did not let me use it at first, but then I tried it Friday night and it worked,” Florian said.

Diana Hall, a recent urban and regional studies graduate, said they did a multi-modal report for one of their classes on RVA Bike Share last year for a transportation class. 

“Its [Bike Share] connectivity is kind of weird,” Hall said. “So think about where the stations are placed. There’s one in Monroe Park, one in Blanchard’s by Morris Street, if you aren’t going from one station to another, it doesn’t really serve you.”

Hall said they have not tried using RVA BikeShare yet because they do not know how to ride a bike but their friends want to teach them how to ride a BikeShare bike.

“You could adjust them [the bikes] to fit you. I don’t own my bike,” Hall said. 

Users have the option to choose three different membership options, ranging from “Annually and Founders” for $96 to “Monthly” for $18 according to their website. RVA Bike Share also offers day passes for $6 and weekly passes for $12, according to the user agreement.

Reddit users have also complained about difficulties using the Bike Share app and renting the bikes during this limited time offer. 

“I signed up for the free ride pass set to expire 12/31, and it went through! Then got an email a few hours later that it had been canceled,” stated Reddit user Kwisque.

Kwisque later posted an update on Reddit, confirming they finally rode one of the bikes.

“It was not a pleasant experience, the tires were almost flat and had to try out several bikes before I found one that was in usable condition,” Kwisque stated.

The Commonwealth Times reached out to RVA Bike Share for an interview but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Contributing Writer Molly Manning contributed to this report.

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