Mason students, staff and faculty members can now travel efficiently around campus, while promoting a sustainable environment at the same time, thanks to Patriot Bikeshare.

Alexandra Sudak/Broadside

Founded this September, Patriot Bikeshare enhances transportation options around campus and makes bicycles more accessible for people who do not own them.

“It is an easy way to travel short distances,” said bicycle and recycling coordinator Tyler Orton, who works with the Office of Parking and Transportation as well as the Office of Sustainability.

Patriot Bikeshare is unique because it is the only fully automated bikeshare model. Unlike other models, such as Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, no permanent infrastructure is needed.

The bicycles, provided by ViaCycle, are unlocked through a mobile application or through sending a text message to a designated number.

At this point, 20 bicycles are available for rental from four on-campus locations: the Northern Neck Starbucks, the Johnson Center North Plaza, the Shenandoah (Sandy Creek) parking deck and the SUB I Quad by Krug Hall.

Riders can pay $3 for a one-time 12-hour rental, or pay $6 to become a monthly member and receive unlimited two-hour rentals. Riders are charged $1 for each additional half hour.

The bicycle fleet was purchased through a grant from the Patriot Green Fund (PGF). Since the grant application was submitted, Patriot Bikeshare has surpassed Orton’s initial expectations.

“When we submitted the PGF application, we hoped 100 people would use our services by the end of fall semester,” Orton said. “But actually, 100 people used Patriot Bikeshare during the first month.”

Although students, staff and faculty use Patriot Bikeshare often, faculty tend to rent bicycles more frequently.

“The faculty are our front-runners,” Orton said.

Within the next four years, Orton wants to expand Patriot Bikeshare into the surrounding community, and bring rental locations to Old Town Fairfax and University Mall.

Already, Orton has established connections between Patriot Bikeshare and transportation planners in Fairfax city government.

“We also hope to establish locations at the Field House and the RAC,” Orton said. “We just have to make sure we have the ridership to support it.”