Over time, we have collected questions received from other universities and agencies looking to deploy a similar program. For easy reference, our responses are posted here.
ALSO: Stick to a plan! Our biggest problem was that from year to year (or semester to semester) or student managers were being replaced with another manager. This became a problem because everyone tried to organize/track/rent in their own way, and once the torch was passed, that student spent their time trying to figure out how to do everything or make up his/her own way. Because of this we've lost many bikes, lost many locks, and lost many potential renters. Design a system/operations that is efficient, scriptable (you can write down every single step), and scalable so that you can grow the program. Once you design that system, STICK TO IT!
We've found that having a bicycle mechanic dedicated to the semester rental program has been very helpful so that he/she can focus solely on semester rental bikes.
We also implemented an online scheduler so that potential renters go online, choose a time (times are based on when the manager is available throughout the week), and then I get an email saying I'm meeting Joe Smith at 10AM on Thursday. Previously we did it all by email. The average turnover was: 5 emails between potential renter and manager and 4 days before a date was set to meet. If you want to scale and grow your program it gets difficult tracking all of these correspondences, much easier just to have allotted times for the renter to choose from.
We are currently making a bicycle catalog so that renters can look at the available bikes online and choose the bike then.