New bike sharing program in Boston
Mayor Menino signs Boston up for a bike share program, rolling out in late July.
Friday, July 22, 2011 - 15:57
BIKING THE CHARLES: Now made easier with Menino's Hubway program! Would you sign up for a bike share? (Photo: Global Jet/Flickr)
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is a strong advocate for biking through our wonderful city. In 2007, Menino formed a program called Boston Bikes, with the hopes of making us a much more bike- (and environmentally-) friendly city. Some initial goals included installing bike racks and lanes, and educating riders on safety. And why not? You get exercise, a smaller carbon footprint, less traffic, and you can even prevent those 45-minute T rides that are only 6 minutes by car. (We've all been there.)
As part of the Boston Bikes program, on Earth Day 2011, Mayor Menino instituted a plan for the New Balance Hubway. Similar to the Zipcar model, members who sign up get a key or code that will unlock any of the 600 bikes available, 24 hours a day. Membership is either short term (24-hour or 3-day access) or long term (3 seasons a year). Rides less than a half hour are free, but cannot be longer than 24 hours (or the bikes are considered stolen). Although many safety features are already installed on each bike, you do need to bring your own helmet and know basic biking laws and regulations.
My biggest concern about participating in this bike share program would be from a cost perspective. Although the Hubway model clearly encourages shorter rides by making them free, is the cost of using the bike longer term worth it? The user fees are certainly reasonable, but I'd be interested in what it costs an average rider annually (membership and longer-term usage fees) versus purchasing a bike of one's own. I'm eager to see how Boston receives this program!
I recently wrote about deciding whether or not to go carless; in the U.S., it feels more like a lifestyle choice than a financial one, but a program like this would certainly make it easier. Check out the map of proposed stations — it looks packed! Would you be willing to sign up for Boston's bike share program?
Logo courtesy Hubway
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