- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - One Indianapolis man has a job that’s largely invisible but essential to the city’s hundreds of bike commuters.

Jake Watson, 27, is responsible for making sure all of the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program stations are stocked with bicycles because some empty out and others fill up as the day progresses.

“Balancing is a bit of an art,” Watson said. “There is a science to it but a lot of it is intuition.”

And the art of station balancing evolved as the system matures and preferences change, according to Kärin Haley, director of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., which manages the bike-sharing program. It also requires knowledge of popular events happening downtown, such as a game at Victory Field or a conference at the Indiana Convention Center, so the team is prepared to monitor and restock the nearby stations.

Some consider Watson’s job to be as essential as other city priorities like keeping the buses running or collecting trash on time, The Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/1egLbF1 ) reported.

About 1,600 residents take advantage of the city’s yearly bike-sharing pass and another 28,000 purchased day passes in 2014. Between the bike 26 stations in downtown Indianapolis, around 108,000 trips were taken last year.

Watson works out of a small garage that serves as the headquarters for Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Inc., and doubles as an office and bike repair shop.

Watson, who also helps repair the bikes, also considers his job to be rewarding, especially compared to other gigs he’s held like delivering sandwiches by bicycle and working in a pizza restaurant.

“It sure beats up-selling breadsticks,” he said. “I get to work outside, dealing with customers and the public in a real way.”


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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