Tired of spending hours each day walking to and from classes? Starting this May, a new e-bike rental company has gotcha covered.
Gotcha, an app-based electric bicycle rental company, announced that they will be launching 500 GPS-enabled e-bikes and 50 mobility hubs within downtown Baton Rouge, LSU and Southern University on May 8.
“We’re excited to provide a convenient and efficient form of micro-transit for the city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University and Southern University,” said Sean Flood, CEO and founder of Gotcha. “We hope to replace the use of single-occupant cars with e-bikes as a new mode of transportation that’s healthy and environmentally friendly.”
Gotcha bike rentals are available through the Gotcha - Ride On mobile app. Using the app, users can find the nearest Gotcha mobility hub, scan the QR code located behind the bike’s seat and ride the bike for as long as desired. Once finished, the user can return the bike to any Gotcha mobility hub and end the ride on the app.
The e-bike itself is uniquely designed by Gotcha bikes, featuring a basket to hold items, a bright front headlight for nighttime riding and an electric motor for pedal assist with speed and inclines.
“We’re there to be a resource for the students,” said Gotcha Community Manager of Baton Rouge and LSU alumna Cokie Reed. “You’ll have access to the bikes 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year. If you need to run across campus and you have a flat tire, you’re able to access that system as a resource.”
Costs for Gotcha bike usage in the Baton Rouge area have not yet been finalized. However, users may purchase a daily, monthly or annual plan. Gotcha will offer a discounted price for University students using the app. The bike rental service will add no additional cost to University students’ tuition.
Gotcha currently operates its’ mobile bike rental service in 25 states and over 50 cities and universities. University students using Gotcha can also rent e-bikes at Auburn University, Florida State University, Morehouse College and more.
Not only will Gotcha bicycle rentals provide a convenient mode of on-campus transportation, but it will hopefully lower the prevalence of bicycle theft on LSU’s campus. One hundred and five bicycles were reported stolen from campus in 2018, according to LSUPD. However, students opting to use Gotcha’s geo-tagged, uniquely designed bicycle locks could help fix the problem.
“These bikes are built [by Gotcha] from the ground up, and they have an ingrained lock on the back wheel that will lock the bike for you.” Reed said.
Gotcha will also have a fleet team in Baton Rouge that will check e-bikes for damages and take them in for repairs if necessary.
Following its May launch, Gotcha plans to add 300 more e-bikes and 30 hubs to Baton Rouge by 2020. They also hope to include their e-scooters and e-tricycles in their expansions, but those additions are not finalized.
The presenting sponsor for the program is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. Other sponsors include BR General, City of Baton Rouge, Department of Transportation and Development, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, BREC, Downtown Development District and the Charles Lamar Foundation.
“We’re excited to bring bike share to not only Baton Rouge but to LSU,” Reed said. “As a former student, I remember going around campus and trying to catch a bus at a certain time. We are hoping to enrich the students’ experience while they are there.”