Posted: 12:00 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Bike-sharing around the world
A variety of business plans — including private ownership, city ownership or a mixture — have helped bike-sharing get rolling in major cities.
Boston’s system got a big boost from the corporate sponsorship of sports shoe manufacturer New Balance. In New York, Citibank’s largess helped. In Minneapolis, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota pledged up to $1.5 million for an expansion of the system.
In the Washington, D.C., area, Capital Bikeshare offers more than 1,670 bicycles at more than 175 stations.
“We have made some tremendous strides in making biking more mainstream,” said Paul DeMaio at MetroBike, a bike-sharing consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. “It’s really just a matter of making the municipality bike-friendly and they will come.”
Meanwhile in Chattanooga, a $2 million federal grant helped pay for equipment and operations. Less than six months after launching, Chattanooga now has 28 bike-sharing stations and about 300 bikes that have serviced nearly 10,000 trips.
The system is aimed at downtown workers and residents, as well as tourists and students at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“This is one of the first large-scale systems in the Southeast,” said Philip Pugliese, bicycle coordinator of Outdoor Chattanooga. “It fills a gap in transportation choice. We have a very walkable and bikeable city already. We really wanted to remove those barriers of convenience and accessibility and let people enjoy grabbing a bike.”
Some of the world’s biggest bike-sharing programs are in France, where Paris has more than 20,000 bikes spread across a regional service, and in China, where some cities have 60,000 bikes or more. Montreal has about 6,000 bikes.
Updated every Friday, Mark Arum tells us where we can find construction, events and anything else to slow us down on the roads this weekend.