Whenever bikes are abandoned on campus, they are often sold at bike auctions.
These auctions are held by Parking and Transportation Services each fall. The revenue from these auctions nearly doubled to about $12,800 from 2011 to 2016, according to the most recent PTS report.
“We have an overwhelming amount of abandoned bikes left on campus each semester,” said Jeremy Hernandez, bicycle coordinator for PTS. “We need to clear these abandoned bikes from our bike racks in order to make room for incoming and returning student, faculty and staff.”
While the starting bid for each bike is $5, high bids have gone up to $400, with the average falling between $43 and $90 each year, according to the report. This revenue is then directed back to PTS funds.
There are many factors that helped increase this revenue, such as the number of bikes eligible for auctioning, according to the report. While there were 162 bikes for sale in 2011, there were 250 in 2016.
Whenever bikes do not receive any bids or are not claimed after a silent auction, which involves people writing bids on paper, PTS holds a live auction. These auctions help sell all bikes and maximize revenue. During 2014–16, all bikes were sold during the auction, according to the report.
The revenue also increased due to growing popularity with the help of social media. Mechanical engineering sophomore Andre Rodriguez, who bought a bike in fall 2017, said the event attracted many visitors who were not just students.
“I would say there was at least 500 people there, possibly more,” Rodriguez said.
During the auctions, students get competitive with their bids, which further drives up the price of bikes.
“People sometimes hover over their bids and guard it,” public health freshman Eric Wang said. “They constantly try topping people or one-upping people to outbid everyone and make small raises. Sometimes it gets a bit physical too. They’ll shove and push people to increase the bids.”
Although the auctions can get hectic, and some of the bikes are not worth much, these auctions are nice for many students who need a bike, Rodriguez said.
“I did see somebody bid over $350 on a bike which was worth way more than that bid,” Rodriguez said. “I think many people did get a good deal, but it all depends on the bidder.”