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Coug Bikes needs better marketing for it to be useful

Students do not know every benefit of utilizing system so participation is low

UREC+Coordinator+of+Coug+Bikes+Donald+Schmit+speaks+about+the+employment+opportunities+offered+by+the+Coug+Bike+program+Friday+at+the+Outdoor+Recreation+Center.+
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Coug Bikes needs better marketing for it to be useful

UREC Coordinator of Coug Bikes Donald Schmit speaks about the employment opportunities offered by the Coug Bike program Friday at the Outdoor Recreation Center.

UREC Coordinator of Coug Bikes Donald Schmit speaks about the employment opportunities offered by the Coug Bike program Friday at the Outdoor Recreation Center.

JULIA KAMINSKI | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

UREC Coordinator of Coug Bikes Donald Schmit speaks about the employment opportunities offered by the Coug Bike program Friday at the Outdoor Recreation Center.

JULIA KAMINSKI | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JULIA KAMINSKI | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

UREC Coordinator of Coug Bikes Donald Schmit speaks about the employment opportunities offered by the Coug Bike program Friday at the Outdoor Recreation Center.

ERIC SIMPSON, Evergreen columnist

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Coug Bikes’ benefits are not fully realized by the student body, and if they are, students are not taking advantage of them. This is because of Coug Bikes’ failure to provide adequate information on how the system works coupled with a lack of effective marketing.

As an avid Coug Biker myself, it is disheartening to know I am one of the few out of a campus population of 20,000 who actively use it every day.

The convenience of a Coug Bike was explained by Donald Schmit, the UREC coordinator of Coug Bikes.

“It’s free to use for four hours a day,” Schmit said. “Two of those four hours can also go towards putting your bike on hold.”

The ability to traverse the campus for four hours a day for free with the added benefit of holding it if you are not near a Coug Bikes rack means that it should be an obvious choice for those with classes across the Pullman campus.

Yet students seem to not take full advantage of the system.

However, Schmit said more students are using Coug Bikes than they expected.

I think the system could support way more students, and it would have reason to improve if more students took advantage of it. Adding electric bikes or scooters to the collection could help.

From my personal observation and Schmit’s, along with other students across campus, most Coug Bikes end up at Southside Cafe.

With a fleet of 100 bikes across 11 different racks on campus, including popular areas such as the CUB, the SRC and the Chinook, the Coug Bikes opportunity is lost when students just use them to ride downhill to eat.

While some may be tempted to say that students are just too lazy to use them to ride uphill to their classes, their reasoning for why they don’t take advantage of Coug Bikes is different than one might think.

“Coug Bikes are just you know for nerds,” freshman economics major Michael Muenzberg said. “I don’t wanna look like that riding around.”

Muenzberg is partly right. Coug Bikes are just not interesting to the student body because people don’t know they are. They aren’t marketed as an attractive way to travel across campus.

Occasionally, students were just uninformed of the benefits of Coug Bikes and were unaware of how the system worked.

Few knew that you could put a Coug Bike on hold for two hours and park it at a rack later.

Fewer still knew that riding Coug Bikes from Southside Cafe and parking them at another Coug Bikes rack credited $2 to your account.

These two issues have one thing in common: a lack of sufficient marketing and advertising.

Coug Bikes need to advertise in a way that makes the bikes attractive to students and informs them of the benefits as well as providing helpful tips.

Without effective marketing, Coug Bikes will continue to experience the same issues of low participation and lack of knowledge within the consumer base.

Schmitt did acknowledge that Coug Bikes will be advertised in the future.

“Gotcha Bikes [the parent of Coug Bikes] plans on advertising Coug Bikes and plans on reaching out to RAs,” Schmit said.

Let’s hope advertising efforts are not only effective in informing students but also in changing how students view Coug Bikes.

About the Writer
ERIC SIMPSON, Evergreen columnist

Eric Simpson is a junior finance and management information systems major from Port Orchard, WA.

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Coug Bikes needs better marketing for it to be useful