Bike Share Programs Expand
As bike share programs expand in cities across the country, we take a brief look at a current system in Minneapolis and the implementation of NYC's new program. Inside we provide details of costs, operations and sponsorships
Minnesota’s "Nice Ride" Minnesota bike sharing program was initiated to promote the use of bicycles and reduce auto congestion as well as carbon dioxide emissions. With early success, the program has recently expanded its reach to tie into Minneapolis’ light-rail corridors.
Minneapolis is adding 24 new bicycle stations to its urban network this year to provide residents with access to 1,500 bicycles. Nice Ride Minnesota received funding for the expansion from the National Park Service, which provided more than $630,000 for station developments near recreational destinations such as Minnehaha Falls and Webber Park. Furthermore, Hennepin County has contributed $90,000 to bring bikes to the community, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is offering $360,000 in sponsorship to support the health-conscious initiative. Not only do bike sharing programs reduce dependency on cars, but also encourage healthy exercise among residents.
The Minnesota model aims to integrate bicycle use into daily transit options, not limiting the program to recreational users enjoying the outdoors. The founders hope residents will pay $6 for a daily pass, or $65 for a seasonal pass to get to and from work, meet friends or run errands throughout the day. So far, the program has 3,500 season pass members, selling 54,000 daily passes in 2012 to cover its $1 million annual operating costs. Now located near the University of Minnesota, the program offers a reduced rate for students as well. Typical rides last up to 30 minutes, while trips lasting longer rack up small fees for additional time used. The program is working with corporate sponsors and local businesses to cover supplement the funding.
NYC Launches Bike Program
New York City has had a bike sharing program in the works for a few years, and is now ready to launch. Sponsored by Citi Bank, the Citi Bike program offers 330 bike stations across the city to allow 24/7 access to 6,000 bikes. The city already has more than 700 miles of bike lanes to make it a cyclist-friendly environment, and more than 4,000 residents have already purchased annual memberships in anticipation.
New York City’s stations include touch screen kiosks to make the rental process easy for users. While a monthly MetroCard granting unlimited access to subway and bus rides costs $112, NYC users have several bike pass options including:
- $99 annual membership for unlimited 45-minute trips
- $9.95 daily pass for unlimited 30-minute trips in 24 hours
- $25 seven-day pass for unlimited 30-minute trips
Furthermore, the program has created the Citi Bike mobile app to help users identify the most efficient route to take on a trip, search for station locations, check bike availability and find stops along the way such as coffee houses or stores. The program hopes to acquire 100,000 subscriptions by July 2013. Through a targeted marketing campaign, the city is looking to engage active young adults looking for a new way to experience and maneuver the city. In the future, the program hopes to provide access to 10,000 bikes across the city at 600 stations.
Other Bike-Friendly Measures
Gov1 has followed similar projects that focus on a more energy-efficient urban landscape that appeals to residents looking to rely less on cars.