Five USC students plan to launch the bike-share program, Ryde, on campus this upcoming fall semester.
Ryde allows students to use bikes located all over campus. Ryde is controlled by an app where users can pay by use or through subscription. The app allows users to locate bikes near them and also reserve a bike when they are on the way to receive it. The team is also developing a feature that allows the bike to lock itself after use or when left idle.
The Ryde team includes Pranav Sudesh, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering; Ashan Marla, a freshman majoring in computer science; Caroline Zhong, a senior majoring in international relations (global business); Jon Koehmstedt, a junior majoring in computer science; and Spencer Pearlman, a freshman majoring in business cinematic arts.
The team has received help from Paul Orlando, an adjunct professor who runs the USC Incubator, during their program’s development.
According to Sudesh, Ryde will improve student transportation on campus.
“You don’t have to worry about owning a bike [or] maintaining it, but it’s always there when you need it,” Sudesh said.
Sudesh said bike sharing can help free up space on campus.
“Administration is not so pleased with the number of bikes on campus,” Sudesh said. “Bike sharing has a lot more potential than just giving out free bikes, because … it’s pretty easy for people to share 100 bikes. On the other side, you’re removing 200 bikes from campus, because all of those people, instead of owning their own bike[s] … are sharing a system that declutters the area.”
Ryde was a finalist in the USC New Venture Seed Competition and is still waiting to hear back on who won. Ryde also participated in Startup Equinox and and a SparkSC event: Arts, Grooves and Food.
Marla said Ryde will begin in fall 2015.
“We’re aiming to roll out a soft launch in this coming fall,” Marla said. “We will be somewhere supplying somewhere between 10 to 20 bikes and just seeing whether USC is ready for bike sharing and whether this bike-sharing system that we’ve developed [can] work on campus. We also want to see how students react to it, because at the end of the day, this is for the students.”
The bike share program also worked with USG to create a plan to implement the sharing system that targets future freshmen.
Marla said USG’s help has been important for program development.
“USG has been the leading advocacy for Ryde up until now and we’re here and we’re going to be launching as a result of them supporting us so much,” Marla said
Marla said Ryde could possibly branch to other campuses if the USC system is successful
“We’re first trying to see ‘does USC respond well to it’,” Marla said. “We’re trying to really tailor … [this] service to the Trojans [but] later on if it works, awesome, that’s something we can share with a lot more people, but right now our focus is just enhancing and making it optional for a USC student just to hop on a bike.”