The Baltimore City Department of Transportation Acting Director Frank Murphy is proud to announce that last week’s launch of Baltimore’s Bike Share program was a huge success. On October 28, 2016 Mayor Rawlings-Blake joined Acting Director Murphy and biking enthusiasts to launch this new initiative, which has received tremendous support from city residents, businesses and the biking community.
“Bike sharing has become an effective mode of transportation for many cities in the nation and we are proud to finally launch a program here in Baltimore,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “Baltimore Bike Share is an affordable, healthy and sustainable addition to the city’s existing transportation options.”
The Baltimore Bike Share program provides citizens with convenient, on-demand access to bicycles for short distance trips in the city. Similar to car sharing programs, Bike Share has become an effective mode of transportation for quick, point to point trips in urban areas. Bike Sharing differs from typical bike rental programs because it is designed for quick trips with high turnover rates by using a modified fee structure that charges higher rates the longer a bicycle is in use.
Programs like these have proven successful in many jurisdictions worldwide, including more than 50 cities across the United States. Baltimore now joins cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Cleveland, Denver, Montreal, London and Paris to provide an effective bike sharing system.
“We are excited to implement the city’s first bike share program and confident that Baltimore will benefit from this new initiative,” Acting Director Murphy said. “It is our priority to expand the city’s network of transportation options for the citizens of Baltimore.”
The program launched with nearly 20 stations and 200 bikes. A total of 50 stations and 465 bikes are expected to be in operation by the spring of 2017. Bike Share stations will be located at popular destinations to compliment other forms of public transportation, and will provide commuters with an additional transit option. Some of the Bike Share station locations include City Hall, Mt. Vernon Marketplace, McHenry Row, Cross Street Market, Can Company, Bond Street Wharf, University of Maryland, Lexington Market, Penn Station, Harbor Point and Center Plaza.
Baltimore’s program includes both standard and electric bikes, making it the largest electric bike share fleet in North and South America. ‘Pedelec’ bikes are integrated with small electric motors that automatically assist the rider when pedaled. These bikes use rechargeable batteries and travel at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.
Citizens will need to have a pass in order to use the bikeshare system. Passes may be purchased at kiosks for single-trip rides, online or with a smart phone app. Cash monthly payment options are also available for residents who do not have a credit/debit card or smartphone.
“As we’ve seen in cities around the world, bike share will quickly become an important transportation option, particularly in Downtown’s densely packed residential and employment centers,” said Kirby Fowler, President of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, which has worked closely with the City on rolling out the Baltimore Bike Share program. “Ultimately, more cyclists on our streets mean fewer car trips and a growing demand for cycling infrastructure.”
The Baltimore Bike Share program has received support from numerous businesses, organizations and biking advocates. The city is proud to partner with Zipcar, the Downtown Partnership, Waterfront Partnership, Greater Baltimore Committee, MTA, Bikemore and Baltimore Station for better transportation options in the city.
“It’s terrific to see Baltimore getting an accessible and affordable bike share system,” said Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “It should help reduce congestion for commuters and provide tourists a new and fun way to explore the city. This should prove to be a welcome boost to neighborhood businesses and be widely embraced by visitors and residents, especially Millennials who understand biking is a viable and smart transportation option in urban environments.”
For additional information about Baltimore’s Bike Share Program, including a complete list of station locations, click here.
Source: Baltimore City Department of Transportation