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Taylor Taxi Service Launches With 32 Upcycled Bikes; More Coming

  • Published: Nov 12, 2015 11:30AM

The Taylor Taxi service – a fleet of 32 yellow bicycles – was launched last week as part of the Taylor Up-Cycle Project. The bikes in the fleet were recycled, or, “upcycled” from bicycles abandoned on campus by Taylor students, said Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Dr. Mike Guebert.

“Every fall, Taylor students bring hundreds of bicycles to campus; unfortunately, many fall into disrepair when left outdoors in the winter,” he said. “Each spring, due partially to limited access to repairs, several dozen bicycles are abandoned and left on campus at the end of the year. Since 2007, we have collected nearly 300 bikes for this project to repair, repaint, and replace the bikes on campus for free, shared use by the Taylor community.”

Guebert added the bikes are held for a year, giving the owners an opportunity to reclaim them, before being added to the program.

The bikes were refurbished by students at the Taylor Bike Kitchen, which is a bike-repair facility located in the Honors Lodge garage near the Taylor campus. In addition to preparing the taxi bikes, members of the Bike Kitchen staff help students learn to maintain and repair their personally-owned bikes, charging a minimal fee for use of the tools and for used parts. The Bike Kitchen and Taylor Taxi service are just two parts of a larger campus transportation sustainability plan created by Guebert and funded by grants from the Ball Foundation Venture Fund, the Taylor Women’s Giving Circle, the Community Foundation of Grant County, and Park Tool of St. Paul Minnesota with facility resources provided by Taylor University.

“The Up-Cycle Projects will improve our sustainable transportation plan, with emphasis on use of bicycles by students, faculty, and staff on and off campus,” said Guebert. “The project strives to educate, motivate and advocate for conscientious transportation choices. It aims to encourage environmentally-friendly transportation choices on campus through enhanced bicycle use, build practical lifelong skills such as basic bicycle repair, enhance human and environmental health, and cultivate a sense of community and social responsibility.”

There is no charge for use of the taxis and rules for their use are simple; share and play fair. As stated on tags attached to the handlebars, “Take a Taxi from any campus rack. Use it on campus or anywhere in Upland. Return the Taxi to any rack on campus.” Extended off-campus usage of the bicycles is not encouraged as it removes them from shared use. If a taxi has a problem, riders can take it to the kitchen or leave a message at contact information attached to the bike. The student workers will quickly repair the taxi and put it back into circulation.

According to Sean Maynor, student manager of the Up-Cycle Project, two more bicycles were released this week and he and the Bike Kitchen staff hope to release 80 more bicycles in the near future.