Bike Sharing Program Planned in Broward County
Rent a bicycle, pedal from here to there, drop it off and go! That will soon be possible as Broward County launches one of the first bike sharing programs in Florida.
Broward Commissioners approved a contract last week with B-Cycle LLC to manage and operate a bike sharing program as a means of reducing traffic congestion by providing an inexpensive way to get around town. The bicycles will be located at various station kiosks throughout Broward County. To access the public bikes, users can swipe a credit card or pre-purchased membership card. The rented bicycles can be returned at any kiosk.
Bike share kiosks will open in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Pompano Beach within the next six months. Initially 200 identifiable blue bikes will be purchased and available for public use. The program is expected to expand to 500 bikes over a five year period.
“This is a no-brainer for tourists who can rent the bikes to go from the beach to dinner downtown and back,” said Vice-Mayor Sue Gunzburger.
Similar bike sharing programs are operating in Denver, Des Moines, and Washington, DC and are quite popular throughout Europe.
“When you put bikes out there that are easily available for short trips, people use them,” said Commissioner Kristin Jacobs. “This is a baby step for us. We have a long way to go. To make this successful, we’ll need more than 200 bikes to get around a county the size of Broward. At some point we’ll have to expand, and in order to grow people will need to feel safe on the roadway.”
Bikes can be rented daily for an initial fee of $5.00 or weekly for an initial fee of $25.00 with the first half-hour costing $.50 and $3.00 for every additional half-hour with a daily maximum of $65.00. An annual membership fee is $45.00 with the first half-hour free, $1.00 for the second half-hour escalating to $4.00 for the fourth and every additional half-hour up to the $65.00 daily maximum.
“It’s tremendously important that a local presence be part of this initiative if we are going to be successful. The investment in this community and knowledge of the community is just primary for it to work here,” said Commissioner Lois Wexler.
In Washington, DC the bike sharing program began with 100 bikes and recently expanded to 1,000. In Denver, 200 bicycles were put into operation six months ago. ”There have been 89,300 rides in Denver, 190,300 miles ridden, with an estimated 5.7 million calories burned,” said Bob Burns, President of B Cycle.
The location of bicycle kiosks will be determined through a site study conducted by B-Cycle in consultation with county and city representatives, with final approval given by the Broward Commission.
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