The Community Bicycle Program is one of a number of programs under the auspices of Davidson Outdoors. As far as I can tell from the website, the strongest advantage of the program is its hassle-free ease of use. Bikes are identified with a placard affixed to the front of the bike labeling it a “Davidson College Community Bicycle.” Members of the campus community are free to ride and park the bikes anywhere on campus. No fees. No paperwork. But there’s the rub: you can’t park the bike anywhere off campus.
Thinking about the ease-of-use issue, I wonder how much it would cost and/or how difficult it would be to somehow link bicycle checkout to university ID cards such that a student could just swipe her or his card and be off. Swiping the card would provide the university with all of the rider’s required information and put a hold on a pre-determined deposit amount, which in turn would be credited back to the student account upon return of the bicycle. This might be the sort of thing that would work best at a small campus where there would likely be only one pick-up and drop-off location.