Tuesday’s announcement by Puget Sound Bike Share that it has chosen an operating partner and plans to roll out in about 12 months makes Seattle just the latest in a recent string of cities embracing bike share.
It seems like only a couple of years ago that the major U.S. cities with bike share systems could be counted on one hand — Denver, Minneapolis and Washington DC.
That’s no longer the case, as bike share systems are popping up all the time.
Matt Christensen at BikeShare.com says 18 new bike share systems are in the pipeline for 2013, including the big one in the Big Apple that will put 5,000 bicycles on New York City streets by early this summer.
All that activity will bring the total number of bike share systems in the U.S. to 53 by the end of the year.
Essentially, they all work about the same way. Users sign up for a daily, monthly or annual membership, then they have free use of a bicycle for 30 minutes at a time. Longer rides get charged.
Alta Bicycle Share, which won the contract for 500 bicycles at 50 bike stations in Seattle, is involved with quite a few existing systems. It runs the Hubway in Boston, Chattanooga Bicycle Share, and Melbourne Bike Share. It also operates the nation’s largest system, Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC with 1,800 bicycles at 200 stations.
According to Christensen, three bike share systems have come online since the first of the year — Houston B-cycle, Greenville B-cycle, and Bike Nation Anaheim. The others (find details at BikeShare.com):
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- Aspen, Colorado
- Austin, Texas
- Chicago, Illinois
- Columbus, Ohio
- Fort Worth, Texas
- Fullerton, California
- Long Beach, California
- Los Angeles, California
- New York City,
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- San Diego, California
- San Francisco, Calfornia
- Tampa, Florida
- Vancouver BC
Kudos to those cities for realizing that bicycles can help solve a host of urban ills, including traffic congestion and localized air pollution.
I’ll be looking forward to Seattle putting its 500 bicycles on the street, followed by frequent expansions in the service area.