As Boise officials continue to work behind the scenes to launch a bicycle-sharing program, New York City unveiled its own bike-share over the Memorial Day weekend—the largest of its kind in the nation.
New York's so-called "Citi Bike," named for its lead sponsor, Citigroup, introduced nearly 6,000 bikes at more than 300 stations. Plans call for doubling the number of stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in the near future. 15,000 people have already signed up for the New York program. Subscribers pay a $95 annual fee for unlimited rides of 45 minutes. Beginning Sunday, June 2, riders will also be able to buy a 24-hour pass for approximately $10 and a seven-day pass for $25.
In our May 8 bicycle-themed issue, we spoke to J.C. Porter, Boise State University's assistant director of Transportation and Parking Services, who is working with officials from the City of Boise, the Ada County Highway District and the Central District Health Department—a lead proponent of the project—about the possibility of launching the Boise Bike Share Program sometime in 2014.
"We're thinking about concentrating on a three- to five-mile radius of the downtown core," said Porter. "Best case scenario, we'll see this next year, probably next summer."
The BBSP, which requires federal funding and ultimate approval from the Idaho Department of Transportation, would introduce a fleet of 120 bicycles at 12-14 bike stations across Boise's downtown core and the campus, and would be managed with an approximate annual operating budget of $350,000. The bike-share stations would be strategically spread out by distances of no more than 1,630 feet (approximately one-quarter-mile). Each bike would be equipped with GPS technology so that users can find and return bikes to open stations. Special kiosks would also be set up at special events to encourage usage.
"Picture this: You commute in from Eagle and let's say you need to get to a meeting across town or you want to go somewhere for lunch. It's that extra mile that you want to travel," said Porter. "It would be so much easier to swipe a card and grab a bike."
Porter told Boise Weekly that a yearly BBSP membership, with unlimited access to a bike, would cost approximately $75-$100.