Bike-sharing program ends service in metro Atlanta due to pandemic

Zagster, which offers bikes for rent, has announced it will no longer offer its program in metro Atlanta.
Zagster, which offers bikes for rent, has announced it will no longer offer its program in metro Atlanta.

Credit: Town Center CID

Credit: Town Center CID

The bike rental company Zagster is the latest business to feel the financial pinch of the pandemic.

Zagster has announced it will no longer offer its bike sharing program in Cobb, Smyrna, Woodstock, Alpharetta and Atlanta. Cobb’s Cumberland and Town Center Community Improvement Districts said they were notified Wednesday about the Boston-based company’s decision.

In an email, Zagster told officials with both business districts that its decision was based on the “COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on business.” Zagster bikes and its stations will be removed from both business districts beginning today through June 12.

“We were surprised by this news and are exploring the implications of this decision for our bike-share users,” said Tracy Rathbone Styf, executive director of the Town Center CID. “At this time, Zagster has not responded to our requests for more information, but we know that this pandemic has hit many businesses hard. We plan to share additional information as it is becomes available.”

Zagster allows cyclists to use a credit card to check out a bike from a docking station and ride for a certain amount of time for a fee calculated per hour or by the day. The bikes, some of which are electric, are returned to the station once users are done.

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According to its website, it has a presence in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Woodstock and Smyrna. Zagster had six stations each within the Cumberland and Town Center CIDs, which are made up of commercial property owners within district boundaries who tax themselves to pay for public infrastructure projects.

“Bike-share programs have been extremely successful in the Cumberland and Town Center communities,” said Kim Menefee, executive director of the Cumberland CID. “Our shared goal will always be to improve our communities as we continue to strengthen our partnerships and regional connectivity.”

The city of Smyrna, which also has a Zagster bike station, was also informed about Zagster's decision, spokeswoman Jennifer Bennett said. Woodstock and Alpharetta, which also has Zagster bikes and stations in its cities, are also affected by the company's move.

Woodstock Economic Development Director Brian Stockton said the city in 2019 began looking around for other options, “so we have a good start on ideas for a replacement.”

Alpharetta Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard, who said the city was also notified Wednesday of the decision, said Zagster told staff that the service would end May 29. The city’s director for Recreation, Parks and Cultural Services has been trying to make contact with Zagster, but “his attempts have gone unanswered,” Drinkard said.

“Our staff is currently exploring our options and contacting other service providers in the hopes of being able to continue offering a bike share program in Alpharetta,” he added.

City of Atlanta spokesman Michael Smith said the city has never had a “relationship” with Zagster, but some private groups in Atlanta may have a partnership with the company.

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