Bird E-Assist Bikes and Scooters Coming to UNCW’s Campus This Fall

Friday, August 19, 2022

A fleet of e-assist bikes and e-scooters will soon be available to the UNCW campus community through a new electric bike share program coming to campus this fall. Through a partnership with Bird, a leader in environmentally friendly electric transportation, students, staff, faculty and campus visitors will be able to travel on campus with ease and efficiency. 

“We listened to student feedback from SGA’s Campus Services Committee, and we delivered on their desire to have a bike share program return to campus,” said Gino Galutera, interim associate vice chancellor for business services. “We believe that the Bird Bike Share Program is a sustainable, enjoyable and economical alternative transportation option that enhances the mobility of students around campus. It was also serendipitous that a Seahawk campus chose Bird as the micro-mobility provider.” 

UNCW is among 150 college and university campuses and 400 cities using the Bird Bike Share Program, which uses geolocation technology to regulate e-bikes and e-scooters and to ensure they are parked in designated parking areas. The fleet is managed by hired Bird managers who oversee the daily tasks of redistributing the e-bikes and e-scooters to designated campus locations.  

Riders can initiate and end their session from more than 100 bike racks currently on campus using an app on their smartphones. The app provides a user-friendly map that shows bike rack locations, available bikes and no-ride or slow zones throughout campus. 

Riders are charged a $1 unlock fee and .42 cents per minute. So, for a student who wants to eat lunch at Dub’s Cafe in Warwick Center and then use an e-assist bike to get to class in McNeill Hall, a Bird ride will cost around $1.84. 

Those who sign up with a UNCW email account will receive a 20% discount. For riders who don’t have a smartphone, rides can also be initiated through texts. To end a session, riders must return the bike or scooter to any campus bike rack and take a photo to confirm.  

"This technology is outright amazing,” said David Cook, interim associate director of parking and transportation. “Using geo-fencing, we will be able to determine the best access points on campus and manage details like rate of speed, no-ride zones like parking decks and slow zones in certain high-traffic areas.”  

Bird and UNCW will also provide free helmets, less the cost of shipping, to new riders upon request through the app.  

“Currently the Bird Bike Share Program can only be used on campus, thanks to geo-fencing technology, but we are looking to expand the program eventually with the city of Wilmington as we gather ridership data,” Galutera added. 

More information on the UNCW Bird Bike Share Program can be found on the UNCW Transportation webpage. 

-- Krissy Vick 

 People standing with ebikes in front of Hoggard Hall

UNCW students Jake Bergen (left) and Tess Licastri (right) test an e-assist bike and e-scooter with the help of Shawn Spencer, the alternative transportation supervisor at UNCW.