Deputy Mayor Rina Cutler (pictured) announced a new bike share program that will be installed and operable across the city by spring 2015. Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro
Six years ago, Russell Meddin of Bike Share Philadelphia told deputy mayor Rina Cutler, "We need to do a bike share and we need to do it now."
That dream got a little closer to becoming a reality when Cutler, officials from B-Cycle and Bicycle Transit Systems announced that Philadelphia's own bike-sharing service will launch in spring 2015.
"It's just an easy way to get around," Meddin said of biking.
Meddin was first introduced to bike-sharing on a trip to Lyons, France -- where residents could borrow a bike to travel to work instead of driving or using public transit.
The B-Cycle bike that Philadelphia will use is already part of bike-sharing services across the nation and in Santiago, Chile.
"It's a bike designed for the widest variety of ridership possible," observed Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia communications manager Nicholas Mirra.
Alison Cohen, president of Bicycle Transit Systems, said that she was projecting 70,000 or more unique users for the bike-sharing program, with about 75 percent being city residents and 25 percent being visitors.
The city plans to make 600 bikes available for use by either visitors to the city or residents wanting a quicker ride.
"You can hop on a bike, ride it across town, leave it at another station, and go do whatever you need to do," said Bob Burns, president of B-Cycle, which uses a modified version of Trek bicycles.
Bike users will be able to pay with credit cards or get membership cards, which can be bought with cash. You can unlock bikes with a swipe of the membership card, then ride.
Prices have not been finalized, but $100 a year is a standard membership rate in other cities with bike-sharing programs.