If you’re going from Fishtown to Center City and you’ve got the will to ride but not the bike, and you have $5 or $10, beginning next fall you’ll be able to hop quick on one of up to 1,500 bikes that will be available through the Philadelphia Bike Share.
In China, there are thousands of bikes in the share system. Cities around the world like Paris, London, and Montreal have adopted similar programs. And in the fall of 2014, Philly will launch a program of its own. That will mean up to 50 stations citywide by summer 2014, with the about 13 stations per square mile from the Navy Yard to Temple, and from the Delaware River to West Philly. In D.C., there are eight stations per mile. Think of bike sharing as one more type of public transportation that’s paid for by public sponsors. The City has committed $3M of its capital budget to jumpstart the infrastructure. The remainder of the $10-15M project will be covered by a sponsor.
The way it works is that you pick up a bike at one station, and drop it off at the next. In New York, where the system is sponsored by Citi Bank, an all day pass is $9.95, and you can ride free for thirty minutes. Beyond that it costs a few more bucks. Annual memberships are also available.
“The idea for bike sharing is it’s really for short one way trips,” said Andrew Stober of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.
The bikes can expected to first be seen around major transit hubs like 30th Street or Suburban Station. They might also be in front of major office buildings and community assets like parks. Right now, the City is asking for input on where people want to see stations. They are also looking for hosts willing to house the sharing stations at their businesses. We wrote about that call for locations and the possibility of the share this time last year.
In a study released this month, the City projected 500K riders will take advantage of the bikes in the 2015 fiscal year, with a splendid jump to just shy of 2.5M million riders by 2025. It’s great to see a program like this come online. Hopefully, it will unclog some of those crowded morning Septa rides and perhaps get a couple of cars off the street.