Earlier this year, Detroiters were introduced to the concept of ride sharing by way of MoGo bikes, the city’s first public bicycle sharing system.
The idea for MoGo initiated in 2012 from Wayne State’s own Office of Economic Engagement. Once it passed a feasibility study in 2013, MoGo became a nonprofit affiliate of the Downtown Detroit Partnership in 2015 and was cleared for development. According to the system’s website, MoGo bikes are meant for “quick trips around town, to get to know the city better.”
The informational links are full of catchy tag lines such as “The city that put the world on four wheels is ready to get you around on two!” and offers MoGo’s services to interested tourists, tired commuters and thrifty students alike.
To obtain a bike, a customizable pass needs to be purchased either online or at one of the MoGo stations around Detroit with cash or credit. When the pass expires, the bike is returned to its docking area. The service has 43 stations and 430 bikes available for use at this time.
Utilizing MoGo bikes might be a simple procedure and they may make an attractive and quirky addition to the city. But there are some disagreements about how practical the system is for regular or semi-regular use.
Realistically, there is a limit. MoGo bikes can only be rented for 30 minutes per trip before the rider is charged for extra time spent cycling. Pricing varies, but the lowest pass option is the Daily, which is $8 for 24 hours.
One-time MoGo user Ariel Nadine said that MoGo is a great novelty but not something she’d use every day.
“The extra fees kind of sneak up on you,” Nadine said. “I felt cute and thrifty on the bike, but most of my trips that take me 15 minutes on the bus take me over 30 using MoGo. And I don’t use it enough to get a monthly or an annual pass.”
MoGo does offer a special pass for users who need more reliable transportation but may be short on funds. The Access Pass is for qualified individuals who receive state benefit programs such as Food Assistance, Cash Assistance/Family Independence, Medicaid, Health Michigan Plan, Children's Special Health Care Services and Child Care Assistance.
However, the Access pass is still subject to fees for rides extending over 30 minutes.
Pre-nursing major Nicki Macklin said that she appreciates what MoGo is doing for Detroit’s image.
“I’ve used the bikes, and I see what they’re trying to do,” Macklin said. “It’s like a new thing to attract people here. My apartment is close to campus and I do most of my shopping at Whole Foods so sometimes I use the bikes for the heck of it.”
MoGo is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with the exception of severe weather.