A group of Maryland college students have launched their own bike sharing system, weBike, as a business in College Park after working on it as part of a class. There system doesn't use docks or stations. You just lock it up wherever you are. But like zipcar you have to bring it back to where you got it.
weBike’s model of bike sharing is based on an SMS text message platform, which enables riders to rent and return bikes through their cell phones. Riders can check out a bike out by sending weBike a text to receive a code to unlock it; the weBike fleet is uniform and easy-to-recognize. They can then ride wherever they need to go within a given period, and when they’re finished, return the bike and text weBike to complete the transaction. Through this simple platform, users have access to a bike to get from A to B without the worry of theft, maintenance or the hassle of where to store a bike in a small apartment. Users also save time waiting for public transportation and avoid the hefty fees to park a car on campus.
Because the cost to offer the system is paid for by the Mazza GrandMarc management, usage of weBike is free for all residents. The system launched in early September, and since then around 85 users have registered for the program, over 300 rides have been logged, and the system has sent and received over 2,500 text messages.
So, for now, we have four area bike sharing systems (CaBi, Smartbike, NPS B-Cycle and weBike). Though this sounds more like a bike fleet similar to the deals that Revolution Cycles have been signing.