Bublr Bikes Expands to UWM
Six new bike stations now at UWM. Barrett, Abele and UWM and Bublr representatives cheer the news.
Faced with ever-rising tuition and textbook prices, many students are turning to alternative, cheaper ways in order to travel around town. That’s why bike sharing has become an increasingly popular option around the country, and why UW-Milwaukee students are likely to welcome a newly announced partnership between UWM and the Milwaukee non-profit Bublr Bikes.
Government officials and UWM staff today unveiled six new Bublr bike stations that are conveniently located for students. Three are located on the main campus of UWM at the Student Union, Sandburg Hall and behind the Golda Meir Library and three at each of the off-campus UWM student housing buildings — Riverview, Kenilworth Square and Cambridge Commons, along (or near) E. North Ave.
Mayor Tom Barrett spoke at the unveiling, saying he has wanted to bring a bike sharing program to Milwaukee since he first saw a program in an “unnamed major American city” eight years ago. “I want this to be a city where we can get around easily,” he said. “So whether it’s the buses, whether it’s bicycles, whether it’s our extreme makeover Milwaukee edition where we come in and redo streets in a day or two, whether it’s a streetcar, whether it’s having a freeway system that is not overbuilt but it gets people around, we have to make sure that this is a city where people can get around. And by having these Bublr bicycles throughout the city of Milwaukee — and it’s gonna grow more and more — we’re making this an even more livable city.”
The event also presented three unique bikes featuring the UWM logo and UWM gold paint. Bublr Bikes executive director Kevin Hardman said the UWM-branded bikes, which he calls “unicorn bikes,” were the idea of UWM Student Association and are designed to move around the city along with the hundreds of blue Bublr bikes. People who find and ride the unique bikes are encouraged to snap a picture of themselves and post it on social media with the hashtag #BublrUWM. “It’s a simple way to just show our appreciation to UWM and the students for not only their support of Bublr but for being a great university here in Milwaukee,” Hardman said.
“As I said in my remarks, the students recognize that bike sharing is easy, convenient and simple. And they’re just searching for ways to get around this great campus and this great city,” Hardman added. “It’s just a week that we’ve had the bikes here, but 60 percent of all the trips taken in the Bublr network were UWM students. So they’ve really taken to it. This is just the beginning, though: we have to make sure that the system is well operated, the bikes are always functional, and it’s gonna be a learning curve because we’re putting stations on the ground as we speak. As the network grows, we’ll be focusing on making sure that this is a great asset for UWM students and the surrounding community.”
Speakers also encouraged UWM students to take advantage of a free Bublr pass for the entire 2015-2016 academic term. That gives them unlimited 60 minute trips around the city for an entire year at no extra cost. After that, students will receive yearly memberships for $20.
According to the Bublr website, all students need to do to get their free pass is to go here, enter your UWM email address in the “create a profile” section, choose “Bublr for Organizations”, type in the code UWM2015 in the Promotion Code Box, enter your credit card info (it’s just for access so you won’t be charged) and then confirm that the amount that you’ll be charged is $0.
“The Student Association is proud to partner with Bublr to produce an innovative, more sustainable way to travel, experience our beautiful city and make memories that will be sure to stand the test of time,” said UWM Student Association president Mike Sportiello.
UWM Student Senator and representative on the Student Transit Committee Dakota Crowell added that “It is my hope that though this project that more students will realize how important these public projects are to creating a sustainable lifestyle… This project is a testament to what a group of dedicated students can do and I’m excited to see other events that will happen around campus now that Bublr has made this commitment.”
“These partnerships require a lot of planning as you’ve been hearing, a lot of advocacy, and a lot of people put a lot of time into this,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “From UWM and across the community, we’ve had our Student Association, representing over 27,000 students who have expressed a lot of interest, our Division of Student Affairs, our Office of Sustainability, Office of Parking and Transit and the administrative unit that provided support including, of course, our financing and administrative affairs and academic affairs. So I want to thank everyone who’s worked on this and you know that our efforts will result in a more healthy, reliable and fun way to explore the city. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
County executive Chris Abele noted that the county developed many of the trails that riders of Bublr Bikes can use. He added that “the goal here isn’t just to have a bike system. The goal is to be the most bike-friendly city [and] county in the country. And anybody who thinks that that’s not something that we can do does not know Mayor Barrett, does not know Chancellor Mone and doesn’t know me. We can and we will.” He also said that UWM is one of the most important institutions in both the city and the county and encouraged people to go to the capitol and demand that it be supported and invested in by the legislature.
According to the press release, Bublr Bikes, partnered with the City of Milwaukee, launched 11 bike stations between the summer of 2014 and 2015 around Milwaukee’s downtown. The six new stations are part of 17 stations being added this month, which more than doubles the network and brings the total amount of stations up to 28. The system plans to expand to over 100 stations with 1,000 Bublr bikes in the Milwaukee area over the coming years.