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Pilot bike share program to expand

Morgan Aguilar
December 05, 2017 08:10 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A pilot bike share program in Albuquerque has been so successful, the Rio Metro Regional Transit District is going to expand it.

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Since the pilot program launched on May 15, 2015, through Nov. 29, 2017, 2,449 members have taken 9,860 trips on the bikes.

"We learned, you know, that people actually do want bike share in Albuquerque, and they don't just want it downtown. They want it across the city as another transportation option,” said Valerie Hermanson, a transportation planner for Rio Metro.

Right now, there are 75 bikes and 15 stations. Hermanson said they plan to have 250 bikes at 50 stations by March, more than tripling the program. They have been taking community input and gathering data on where people like to bike the most across the metro.

"The top locations are the University of New Mexico and that area, Nob Hill, as well as more stations in downtown Albuquerque," Hermanson said.

The permanent program will come with some new bikes that work slightly differently. Instead of using the Zagster website and app, Zagster has launched a service called Pace. The bikes will have GPS and be able to be unlocked using Bluetooth on a cell phone. The new bikes will also have a dock-less option.

"When you're done, you don't have to return it to a designated station," Hermanson said. "You could also return it to a public bike rack."

Bob Tilley, who frequently uses the bike share program, said he’s excited about the expansion and how many dots it will help connect in Albuquerque’s public transportation system.

"Now with ART, I can get on the ART bus, go to Nob Hill, and then grab a bike if I want and, you know, expand my travels that much easier," he said.

A federal grant will help cover the $1.2 million cost, leaving about $175,000 to taxpayers.

"But we do have a cost-sharing plan with the vendor," Hermanson said. "So when we reach a certain point, it'll help cover a lot of those taxpayer costs. It won't be as expensive."

Each ride will cost $1 for every 30 minutes.

MRCOG and Rio Metro are still taking email suggestions on where to expand the bike share program. You can email comments to bikeshare@mrcog-nm.gov. There will also be a booth set up at the Nob Hill Shop N’ Stroll on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. in front of Slice Parlor.

The public is also invited to an open house at the Mid-Region Council of Governments office on Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to learn more and offer suggestions. The MRCOG office is at 809 Copper Ave. NW.

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Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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