Holy Spokes Bike Share creates a solution to the seemingly endless sights, eats, and activities in Charleston. At times it may seem impossible to walk from place to place in the hot summer days and parking isn’t always an option; I am a summer resident downtown and find that miles add up and parking tickets are ever present in the busy city.
The easy app Social Bicycles makes sightseeing easier with the maps showing bike availability and locations around Charleston.
Affordability: You can reserve a bike in “2 clicks” through the app and pay as you go with $8/hour, or for long-term plans: $15/month, or $69/year. This encourages not only tourists but also locals, including student plans, to participate. Additionally, in comparison to bike rentals, you don’t have to worry about returning the bike to the original location and can continue exploring after putting your bike in a designated Holy Spokes corral. If you want to grab a coffee and don’t want to be charged for locking your bike at an ‘undesignated spot,’ you can place the bike on hold for 30 minutes and lock it while you head inside.
Availability: The user-friendly app shows a map of the available bikes in town, the corrals with the number of bikes and how to get there. It also allows you to reserve a bike for 15 minutes prior to your arrival at the corral.
City Benefits: This opportunity allows for a boost in tourism sightseeing, an easy way for locals to get from place to place and a more active way of transportation. With three gears, a GPS and more features, the bike system is sponsored by MUSC and continues to encourage an active, healthy lifestyle in Charleston.
However, with every good deal comes an opportunity to improve. Many customers have expressed their concern with extra charges on their accounts, including $5 for parking at undesignated corrals. Most bike shares allow bikers to use a bike and return it to other corrals of the same brand in order to encourage sightseeing, which seems to be the goal of Holy Spokes. To ensure that customers remain satisfied with their experience, the company should continue to clarify the importance of staying within the designated area, or else face a $50 fine, and the importance of returning bikes to Holy Spokes corrals-- a clear definition of what is “undesignated” should be available.
Additionally, no one likes to face unpleasant customer service, especially here down south. A few online reviews show dissatisfaction with Holy Spokes agents refusing refunds for mischarged amounts and one reviewer even said the agents are simply “looking for any reason to charge you.” Not exactly what you want to hear from a supposedly affordable way to get around town!
There are also reviews about the screen glare and confusion on different fees and charges. So, I could see myself using Holy Spokes Bike Share because of the benefits and bang for your buck, but… I don’t see it in my near future.
Because I find it hard to justify spending monthly or yearly payments, as a college student, on places I can walk to and I don’t want to risk those extra charges and phone calls with customer service. I’ll let you give it a try and let me know what you think!