Philadelphia, a citywide bike sharing system is nearly ready to roll.
The intention to launch a much-anticipated bike sharing program in Philadelphia was announced in December of 2012, and now the official plan is set and this city will see bicycles fill the city’s bike lanes by summer 2014.
More and more, bike sharing has become an essential mode of urban public transportation both in the United States and around the world. Well-loved and well-used systems are in place in such U.S. cities as New York, Chicago, Washington D.C. and Portland, and internationally in cities from Paris to Taipei.
Not only is bike sharing a healthy and affordable public transportation alternative, the new Philadelphia program will also serve to raise the city’s status as a cosmopolitain destination and connect Philadelphia’s residents and visitors to the city’s streets in a new, accessible way.
Bike share users will be able to pick up a bike from one pod and then return it to another pod somewhere else in the city. Thus far, the planned service area seems pretty comprehensive — spanning from the Delaware River in the east all the way into West Philadelphia, and from the Navy Yard in South Philly through Center City and to North Philadelphia and Temple University’s main campus.
The service area will be deployed in concentric zones, with Center City core locations developed first, followed by the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
With an initial rollout of 150 to 200 stations and 1500 to 2000 sharable bikes aiming to hit the roads within the next year, it looks like there’s not going to be any shortage of opportunities for Philadelphians to ride.
In terms of usage, the anticipated ridership is around 500,000 trips annually by 2015, with local use growing over the first six years of operations to nearly 2.5 million trips per year.
The cost will be approachable, too, with the first 30 minutes of usage slated to be free and users paying a metered rate after that.
Can’t wait to participate in bike sharing?
Right now, the city is asking for recommendations as to where some of the bike sharing pods should be located. Check out the suggestion map here and pick the spots where you think bike sharing stations should pop up.
Stay tuned for more information as the plans progress, and if you want to know more about how a bike share program works, check out these videos about the bike share programs in Mexico City, Washington D.C., Dublin and other cities around the world.