The goal is to have the program up and running by spring of next year, according to the Clean Energy Coalition (CEC), a Trans4M core member which announced the plans Aug. 8. It will be a partnership between CEC, the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide), the City of Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan.
As part of the Odyssey tour, the CEC, The Ride, the City of Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan will be presented with the new “Trans4Mer” award for their commitment to an infrastructure serving alternative modes of transportation, and for supporting Michigan’s Complete Streets Policy in creating inclusive communities.
Eli Cooper, the City of Ann Arbor’s transportation program manager, said bike sharing offers an opportunity to dramatically increase bicycling in Ann Arbor. Modern bike-sharing is quickly growing in popularity in the U.S., he said, with more than 20 systems having launched in recent years. “This will do nothing but ramp up the acceleration of acceptability of bicycling,” Cooper said. “With the bike share cycles being used around town, there will be more likelihood that folks will recognize that the road is not for automobiles alone.”
Members may use bikes for up to 30 minutes for free; usage fees will be charged for rides longer than 30 minutes. B-cycle, a next-generation bike-sharing program, will operate the bike share program. B-Cycle is the only bike-sharing program that measures the actual distance traveled on each ride and keeps track of the calories you’ve burned and the carbon emissions you’ve prevented. B-Cycle operates 18 bike share programs across the United States, including Boulder, CO and Madison, WI. Members of Ann Arbor’s bike share program will be able to access bikes in any B-cycle system for no additional membership cost.
Bike share in Ann Arbor has attracted community support in anticipation of a possible program launch: “I’m very excited about the possibility of bike sharing coming to downtown Ann Arbor. Zingerman’s staff will benefit by being able to use the bikes to run quick errands during the day, not to mention how the program will showcase the city to residents and visitors alike,” said Grace Singleton, managing partner at Zingerman’s Deli.
The program will initially service downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan’s campus. It is anticipated to include 125 bikes at 14 fully automated stations. Adults will be able to sign-up as members at station kiosks or online. Memberships will be available on a 24-hour, 7-day, or annual basis. Once registered, members can check out a bike, ride to a destination, and return the bike to any of 14 stations.
Program planning continues this fall to finalize station locations, develop marketing and communication materials, and build members’ services. Memberships will be available for purchase in late 2013 or early 2014, and pricing is expected to match rates at other bike share programs nationwide.
Written by: Heather Seyfarth, Clean Energy Coalition (Trans4M Member)
Source: “Ann Arbor moving ahead with first public bike sharing program of its kind in Michigan“, Ryan J. Stanton, August 9, 2013