Hubway: The bicycles are coming! The bicycles are coming!
With Boston’s highly touted bicycle sharing program, Hubway, set to launch next week, city officials have been trying to pave the way for a safe and successful launch.
Last minute preparations are under way, including the installation of bike stations across the city.
City officials said they are still working on securing approval for the installation of the last few
stations, but that next week people should be able to rent a bicycle whenever they need one.
“We’re still working on it, and I think it’s still going to be very, very successful,” said Nicole Freedman, director of the city’s Boston Bikes program.
Multiple officials said Hubway’s launch event is scheduled for next Tuesday at City Hall Plaza.
Freedman also said she expects the program to be popular despite the first phase leaving out the bike-centric cities of Cambridge and Somerville.
Those communities were also working on securing city approval for the bike docking stations and the program could launch there in the fall.
Marc Draisen, the director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which has been working on the bike share program, said the process to coordinate permitting for one program among four different cities has been “complicated.”
“The great thing is that everybody seems to want to do this,” he said.
Hubway will launch with 61 docking stations and 600 bicycles in an area that covers Allston, Brighton, Downtown Boston, the South End and parts of South Boston and Roxbury. Thousand more bicycles could be added if the program can expand beyond the current phase.
“It’ll start in areas that can generate the most number of riders and we’re going to build on that sort of in layers,” Draisen said.
In preparation for the additional 600 bikes that can soon take to Boston’s streets, officials have been trying to spread the word about courtesy being a two-way street.
The city identified “high-conflict” intersections where police will enforce traffic rules for both bikes and cars. Police from Northeastern and Boston universities will join that effort.
A Cambridge Police spokesman said officers in that city hand out between 50 and 100 biking citations each month.
How Hubway works
Hubway will feature “swipe card” payments and will cost $5 per day and $85 for a yearly membership. Annual memberships for $60 are being offered for
people who sign up before the launch.
Trips that are 30 minutes or less are free.
Users can rent bikes from one station and return them at another one across the city. On average, there will be 10 bikes available at each station and an app will be able to tell users how many are available at certain times.