What is Bikeshare?

Bikeshare is an innovative transportation program, whereby system subscribers have accessbwg_station_072214_n to bicycles through self-service kiosk locations around the community. The system is accessed through low-cost subscriptions ranging from a few dollars for one-day to annual memberships that generally cost less than a bicycle tune-up.

Bikeshare is ideal for short distance point-to-point trips providing subscribers access to bicycles at any self-serve bike station to use and return to any bike station within the system’s service area. Most systems allow subscribers to make as many trips as often as they like without additional charge provided they return the bicycles to a system station within a half hour. Operators generally begin to charge gradually increasing fees after the first half hour to discourage users from holding onto the bicycles when they are not being used, ensuring that bicycles are readily available for other system subscribers. In cities across the US, bike share systems have proven very popular and successful by giving residents and visitors alike a fast, affordable, easy to use transportation option that can make getting around town fun!

Characteristics of a bikeshare program:

  • It is oriented to short-term, point-to-point use. Most rides are only around 15-20 minutes and 1-3 miles.
  • The bicycle can be returned to any number of self-serve bike share stations, including the original check out location.
  • Generally, the bicycles are one style and easy to operate with simple components and adjustable seats.
  • The rental transaction is fully automated and there is no need for on-site staff.

Why bikeshare:

Bike sharing is good for cities in many ways. It delivers all the benefits of bicycling: by replacing car trips, it helps the environment, health, road congestion, the economy, parking, mobility, and traffic safety. In addition, bike sharing has unique advantages. It is more convenient and affordable than bike ownership for many residents; it helps overcome barriers to using a bike in a city, such as theft and storage; it generates revenue for municipalities and private companies; it creates new jobs; it motivates cities to improve bike infrastructure; it both connects to and relieves pressure on transit; it provides branding for a city; and it introduces new audiences to bicycling.

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2 thoughts on “What is Bikeshare?

  1. Tina Pilgrim

    I have used bike shares in larger metro cities (Chicago, New York) and would love to use one here, however, we need to increase the amount of bike lanes and have a central based community to make accessibility easier for those who intend to use this program. The biggest issue with Birmingham as a community is that everything is compartmentalized and that no district or area of town is close to one another, which makes biking a bit of a challenge.

  2. Maria C Norena

    I would like to participate and contribute in anyway needed to this program – it is much needed.
    Please, I need to connect with the person leading this effort to join a meeting we are having on 10/25/2013.

    Maria C Norena
    Associate Director, Strategy & Innovation
    UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center


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