Five hundred rentable bikes are expected to be hitting Phoenix streets near the Metro Light Rail in the spring, but program organizers say they need donations and sponsors to reach that goal.
Phoenix has been working with a contractor called CycleHopLLC to start a Bike Share program in Phoenix. Cycle Hop has organized a program called Grid Bikes that will run at no cost to the city, but requires sponsorships and memberships from individual users.
Field testing will begin in February with the full program launching in April. When the program launches individual users will be able to purchase annual memberships or rent bikes for a daily fee.
“Bike Share is set up to deal with the last mile,” said Stacey Champion of Strategies 360. “If you look at where light rail is it’s designed to get you anywhere a mile out from light rail. They’re designed to be used for short trips.”
Bike kiosks will be stationed near the light rail and bus stops and people can punch in a code to unlock the bikes and ride to their final destination. While people will be incentivized to lock the bikes back up at a kiosk, they can lock them at any public bike rack.
“This Bike Share is a little different from other cities,” Champion said. “A lot of cities that have Bike Share have smart kiosk technology. We actually have smart bike technology. They are fifth generation social bicycles. They’re GPS enabled. They’re powered with solar batteries for the GPS and where you can access renting the bike straight on the bike through a social mobile app. You can rent them straight on the bike or at the kiosk.”
Champion said people will be able to locate a bike through a mobile app and reserve it from their phone. When they arrive at the bike they’ll type in a code and the bike will unlock.
To get the program started Grid is searching for sponsors. One thousand Founding Member sponsorships are available. More sponsorships opportunities can be viewed online at gridbikes.com.
Phoenix will begin field testing in February of 2014 with a full launch of 500 bikes in April. Later in the spring Tempe and Mesa are expected to release 250 bikes each for the program. For more information, visit gridbikes.com.
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