Riding up and down the waterfront
Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City join in regional bike share program
by Dean DeChiaro
Reporter staff writer
Dec 29, 2013 | 5021 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The city of Hoboken announced last week that it had entered into a partnership with the city of Jersey City and the Township of Weehawken to bring a joint bike sharing program to the three municipalities that will allow residents to rent one of 650 bikes available up and down the Gold Coast.

The Regional Bike Share initiative, as its being called, will build on a pilot program that Hoboken conducted throughout this past summer, which allowed a company called SoBi (Social Bicycles) to install several rent-a-bike stations throughout town.

Under the tri-municipality plan, hundreds of bikes will be available at strategic locations in all three cities. In Jersey City, a minimum of 300 bikes will be installed in 30 locations throughout the city. In Hoboken, there will be a minimum of 250 bikes and a minimum of 100 bikes in Weehawken.

Additionally, the three municipalities will jointly issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to bike share vendors, instead of each municipality handling their proposals separately. The city council in each respective city is planning on voting to approve the RFP at upcoming meetings, according to a release issued by the municipalities. Additionally, the program is being designed in a way that will allow for subsequent inclusion of other Hudson County towns.

Mayors hail sharing program

“Following Hoboken’s extremely successful bike share pilot this summer, we are ready to scale up to a full-scale, regional bike share program,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Hoboken has the highest rate of transit commuters in the country, and this program will improve our region’s transportation resiliency and provide another low-cost, healthy transportation and recreation option.”

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said that he hopes the program will encourage the residents of each city to grow closer and become more aware of sustainable transportation options.
“Following Hoboken’s extremely successful bike share pilot this summer, we are ready to scale up to a full-scale, regional bike share program.” – Dawn Zimmer
“We are pleased to partner with Hoboken and Weehawken to bring this bike share program to our three cities, as it will provide a viable and affordable transportation alternative to motor vehicles for our residents, employees, and visitors,” said Mayor Fulop. “We know that our transportation network is a regional one that connects our three waterfront communities, which is why it was important to partner on this initiative.”

Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said that he hopes residents of that township will use the program to visit their neighbors to the south.

“Weehawken Township, in conjunction with Jersey City and Hoboken, looks forward to the initiation of this bike share program,” he said. “Weehawken residents will have the opportunity to not only utilize the bike service within Weehawken, but will also be able to use it while visiting their neighboring communities.”

How will it work?

The bike share program will allow users to rent a bicycle from any station throughout the three participating cities and return it to any other station, regardless of what municipality the rider has traveled to.

Like the program that existed in Hoboken this past summer, users can register for the program online or on their smartphones. Payment plans and user agreements can also be done via iPhone or Android operating systems.

Someone who hasn’t pre-registered for the program, such as a tourist or typical motorist, will also be able to participate by signing up directly at a rental station.

Interestingly, each bike will be equipped with a GPS that will log user data continually, in an effort to allow the municipalities to adjust the program according to the habits and needs of residents.

It isn’t yet clear how much the program will cost to use, though a statement from the municipalities did note that various payment options and plans will be available to residents based on how frequently they plan to use the bikes. A timeline for the plan’s implementation has not yet been set.

Dean DeChiaro may be reached at deand@hudsonreporter.com

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