Chicago Hops On Bike Sharing Phenomenon

With the recently announced selection of a vendor to operate its first large-scale bicycle sharing program, Chicagoans are primed to start pedaling in earnest this summer, reports Jon Hilkevitch.
March 15, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Alta Bicycle Share, Inc., of Portland and its equipment manufacturer, Public Bike System Co. have been selected over two competing bids to implement and operate a $21 million network beginning this summer. According to Hilkevitch, 3,000 bicycles will be made available at 300 solar-powered self-service pick-up and drop-off locations this summer, with expansion to a total of 5,000 bikes and 500 docking stations by 2014.

Alta currently operates bike-share systems in London, Melbourne, Boston, Minneapolis, Washington, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, and is expanding to New York and Chattanooga this year.

As for the $21 million start-up price tag, "$18 million will be covered by federal funding aimed at improving air quality and easing traffic congestion and the remaining $3 million will be provided by the city," writes Hilkevitch. Operating costs are expected to be covered entirely by users.

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Published on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in Chicago Tribune
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