UP Students Introduce a Healthier and Greener Way to Travel

The traffic in the Philippines is undoubtedly a big problem that we are all forced to live with. Some students from the University of the Philippines Diliman are bringing in powerful new ideas and solutions that we hope would be adapted in other parts of the country.

We interviewed Migi Laperal, the president of UP Bike Share to tell us more about it.

UP BIke Share

In your own words, please describe what UP Bike Share is all about.

Public bike sharing has emerged as one of the latest transportation innovations, transforming cities in North America, Europe, China, and Taiwan by providing people with more mobility options. It’s an on demand form of public transportation specialized in “first and last mile journeys”: journeys which are too long to walk, yet too short or costly to take other forms of transportation, and are the problems a UP student faces every day.

UP Bike Share is a team of college students who want to establish a fourth-generation bike sharing system within the campus. If a student needs to get from Building A to B, he can simply unlock a UP Bike Share bike parked in Building A, ride it to his destination, then lock it up there for the next person to use. This system is complemented with our partner UP research laboratories who are helping us design the technology to make the bike sharing system more sophisticated, optimal, and affordable.

We launched our beta phase in August 2015 with 30 bikes, and roughly 70 dormers as part of the system. Before the end of May 2016, we expect to have a fleet of 80 bikes serving up to 300 users from the various dormitories around the campus. Currently, our beta system is only open to dormers, however, we have already began accepting sign ups on our Facebook page for non-dorming students. Our goal is to open the system to all students within the next few years.

What are the problems that UP Bike Share is trying to solve?

In April 2015, we surveyed a population of over 700 students, faculty and staff and found that 87% are open and willing to bike around UP, and yet only 4% actually do. They further identified that the principle reason for this is not the discomfort of physical exertion or heat, but the feeling that roads are unsafe and that infrastructure supporting bikes are lacking.

For UP Bike Share, the lack of safety and infrastructure can be resolved by building the culture of responsible cycling within the campus. We believe that by empowering people to have biking as part of their daily commute, we can usher in more changes, both physical and cultural, that will make biking a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Could you give us more info about the people behind UP Bike Share?

The team is currently comprised of 31 UP students with backgrounds ranging from Civil, Computer, Electrical, Electronics, Industrial, and Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Architecture, Business Ad and Accounting, Microbiology and Biotech and Visual Communication with expertise levels from undergrads to PhDs.

We work sadistically long hours, pro-bono and feed the beast which is bike share.

What is your vision for UP Bike Share? What do you want to achieve through it in the years to come?

The idea is for us to develop UP’s transportation system into something which is exemplary and easily replicable in any PHL community. Whether that community is urban, sub-urban, industrial or rural, we greatly believe that bicycles can form the integral backbone to mobility.

We would like to see bike sharing in all these different communities, which we believe will serve as a marker for economic development, good governance, and a true social service.

The positive reception of people both from inside and outside the UP biking community is something that surprised even some of the organizers. We talked to Shawn Gabriel Lee, the Event Head of the recently concluded TRIP: Lakbay2Love.

TRIP: Lakbay2Love is a green carpet premiere of the movie, Lakbay2Love starring Dennis Trillo and Solenn Heussaff. Attendees were the first to see the movie (al fresco!

). They biked around the campus, and enjoyed live music during the event.

Shaw told us about the experience of organizing the event. “Organizing the TRIP: Lakbay2Love was a big challenge for our team of students because we wanted to offer so many different activities to our participants. We had a bike ride around UP, an open-air movie premiere, and a chill ground seating concert. Combining all of these posed different problems in terms of logistics and program, but nonetheless we wanted to deliver a quality experience as it was UP Bike Share’s debut event into the university.

All of these difficulties, however, became more than worth their while as the event proper unfolded. The turnout for the event was nothing like what we expected.

What we originally though would be a mid-sized gathering of UP students became a culmination of cycling advocates, Lakbay2Love fans, and music lovers. I’m really thankful for the chance to have organized such a unique event and I’m excited for what UP Bike Share has to offer the community for the rest of the year.”

UP Bike Share

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/upbikesharing/

Website: https://signup.upbikeshare.com/