Several years after embracing car sharing, Philadelphians could soon be able to swap bicycles.
City officials said they are ready to move forward with a program that would allow riders to borrow bicycles for short trips in and around the city. The Nutter Administration plans to ask City Council's approval for $3 million for a program that would feature between 1,000 and 1,200 bicycles at about 100 stations by 2014, according to Andrew Stober, chief of staff for the Mayor's Office of Transportation and Utilities.
Riders would likely be able to get a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly membership with no charge for the first half-hour, and then a fee that would increase for each additional half-hour. Stober said stations would be spread from the Delaware River to 41st Street in West Philadelphia; from Washington Avenue to Spring Garden; and around Temple University.
In addition to using credit and debit cards, riders would also be able to swipe their cell phones at the stations - something that is currently not available in bike sharing systems in the U.S.
Russell Meddin, founder of Bike Share Philadelphia, insists it will help decrease road congestion and pollution, but said the city should start larger.
"[The successful systems] have all doubled their size as quickly as they could and they all are regretful it didn't start larger," he said.