City picks company to create 600 self-service bicycle "stations" in Manhattan

September 14, 2011

If you think the sidewalks of Manhattan are crowded now, wait 'til next year when Alta Bicycle Share plans to put 10,000 rental bikes at 600 self-service "stations" on sidewalks and plazas south of 60th Street in Manhattan.

The Bloomberg administration announced today it has selected the Portland, Oregon-based company to create the bike-share program next summer.

"The administration, led in the effort by Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, has enthusiastically committed to bicycle sharing, but the system will be the only one in the world not to receive public funds," according to an article by Jeremy Smerd in today's edition of crainsnewyork.com.

Under the plan, the company must garner "enough membership and advertising revenue to sustain the service" and "must also win the support of businesses, community boards and elected leaders to site the stations on sidewalks and plazas," the article said.

The article noted that "a smaller system will be tested before the full rollout next year."

"The selection of Alta surprised some observers because of troubles facing the Montreal-based supplier that Alta plans to use to provide bikes and racks. Canadian officials won't let the supplier, Public Bike System Co., known as Bixi, export its systems, which could jeopardize Alta's ability to deliver on its proposal. Alta President Alison Cohen told Crain's in July that it might buy Public Bike, but that if it does not, its proposals to the city would not be affected," the article added.

"Alta," the article continued, "runs bike-sharing programs in Washington, D.C., and Melbourne, but all rely to some degree on government funding. Memberships typically cost less than $100 annually. That allows riders to pick up and drop off bike from a number of kiosks sprinkled throughout the densest parts of a city. Members can use the bike for free for a nominal amount of time, usually 30 minutes, before extra charges kick in."


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