UNH Adopts Cat Trax Bike Share


Sarah Donovan, Content Editor

Cat Trax, a brand-new bike share in partnership with the Sustainability Institute at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), Hospitality Services and Transportation Services, and Oyster River Cycle and Sport plans to launch their passion project this Friday, Sept. 16 at UNH. 

Cat Trax’s goal is to supply the UNH community with accessible and affordable transportation while working toward a shared sustainability goal of lowering carbon emissions. Jennifer Andrews, project director of the Sustainability Institute at UNH, shared that Cat Trax’s mission aligns with the Sustainability Institute’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) program, in which they’ve received a STARS platinum rating. The program establishes the groundwork for self-reporting sustainability efforts on campus. “This program is intended to contribute to all the UN goals”, “giving the community low carbon transportation options,” said Andrews.  

Nathan Maybach, an intern with the Sustainability Institute at UNH working with Cat Trax, says, “My biggest hope is that whenever I go outside to walk to class, I’ll see someone using Cat Trax.” The bike share was initially imagined by Bill McNamara, Executive Director of Hospitality Services at UNH, along with Transportation Services, the Sustainability Institute, and students. The launch of Cat Trax this fall semester is possible with the generous support of Oyster River Cycle and Sport providing 30 bicycles that will be a part of the bike share. Cat Trax was funded in collaboration by the Sustainability Institute, the Student Activity Commission Fund (SAFC), as well as a small portion of funding provided by the mandatory transportation fee students pay when attending UNH. 

Cat Trax will be accessible through the app “Movatic,” free to download on the app store. To access the bikes, the location feature must be enabled within the app to find Cat Trax near you. Bikes will be free of cost within the first hour of riding for students. After the first hour, there will be a $1 an hour charge for students. For community members, the rate is $1 an hour. Cat Trax bikes will be dispersed around the UNH campus and at popular locations such as Philbrook Dining Hall, Holloway Commons and Paul College. 

The riders must abide by Cat Trax rules and regulations; bikes are not permitted to go further than downtown Durham, or on nature trails as these bikes are specifically designed for the road. The program does not provide helmets, but cyclists must obey the rules of the road, and are strongly advised to wear helmets when riding. Andrews highlighted that she is excited to contribute to the UNH sustainability goals, as well as Durham.

Jamie Develiss, a junior at UNH said that she is excited about an alternative form of transportation besides cars, buses or walking. “It’ll hopefully make people bike when they would’ve driven,” said Develiss. With UNH’s commitment to sustainability, this is an excellent step towards a more sustainable campus. 

Three variations of bike shares have been attempted in the past two decades at UNH but were ultimately unsuccessful. “With the new bike share technology, it makes it easy and convenient for folks,” Andrews said. The Cat Trax team is very excited for this new endeavor to become a part of students’ everyday lives, to  continue the Cat Trax project Spring semester of 2023.