The cities of Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehawken are partnering to launch a regional bike share system in the summer of 2014 that will be the largest next-generation bike share system in North America. The system will feature 800 smart-bikes, 50 bike stations, and 2 full-service pavilions at no cost to the cities.
“Bike sharing is an affordable, sustainable, and convenient transportation option,” said Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “We are excited to partner with leading innovators to bring this next-generation system to our residents, businesses and visitors at no cost to taxpayers. I am proud to build upon our successful pilot bike share program and work with our neighbors in Jersey City and Weehawken to create a regional system.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop was equally enthusiastic: “We’re proud to take this step toward a greener, more bike friendly Jersey City. Providing a new transportation option throughout the city while simultaneously reducing pollution, traffic congestion and demand for parking is a home run, especially given that that it won’t cost the taxpayers a cent. We believe this system will be a model for others throughout the nation.”
“We are very excited to participate in the bike share program with Hoboken and Jersey City,” said Weehawken Councilwoman Rosemary Lavagnino. “This program will allow residents to leave their cars at home while still giving them access to Weehawken and their neighboring communities.”
The program will be operated by Bike and Roll, the largest bike rental company in the United States, and will use bicycle technology manufactured by Nextbike, a leading operator and supplier of bike sharing systems with over 17,000 bicycles in 60 cities in 14 countries. E3Think is the economic, strategy and planning partner for the consortium, and investment capital will be provided by P3 Global Management, a smart city investment firm.
“Bike and Roll is excited to have been selected to operate this cutting edge bicycle sharing system for Hoboken, Jersey City and Weehawken,” said Chris Wogas, President of Bike and Roll. “Together with our partners, we are bringing a technologically advanced network of bikes to these cities with zero cost to taxpayers. This is truly a value added program for the cities, its residents and visitors.”
The system will feature “smart bikes,” the next generation of bike share technology. Traditional bike sharing systems rely on a “smart dock” approach for storing bicycles, which requires expensive infrastructure for docking stations. The “smart lock” approach relies on bicycles with built-in locks and communications equipment, providing increased flexibility at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems.
“The time is right to introduce an economic and flexible bike sharing program made in Germany to the USA,” said Ralf Kalupner, founder and managing director of nextbike GmbH. “Bike sharing needs to be economic and that’s what we have proven for the last 10 years.”
The Nextbike Cruiser Comfort bike features a 7-gear shift, puncture-resistant tires, integrated LED lights with stand-light function, hub dynamo, kickstand, basket, bell, mudguard, chain guard, hand and coaster brakes, and height-adjustable seat.
“Bike share is the core of new urban mobility for cities around the world,” said Tom Glendening, President of E3Think. “In contrast to the expensive technology in some markets, Nextbike's low cost, flexible smart-bike technology offers a very, very positive future. This bike share program could very well be a model for cities across the globe.”
Revenue sources for the program will include sponsorships, advertising, and user fees, and the cities will receive a percentage of profits after capital expenditures have been recouped.
“We see bike share programs as a cornerstone of economically and socially healthy cities,” said Jim Campbell, CEO of P3GM. “We are thrilled to have been selected by Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken to bring this enormous benefit to their citizens, tourists and students alike.”
Pricing options will include annual, weekly and daily memberships. Annual memberships will include free use for the first 45 minutes of each ride. Customers will be able to register online or at solar-powered kiosks. Members will be able to rent a bicycle via a customer card, mobile application (iOS and Android) or phone call via an interactive voice response system.
The two full-service pavilions, to be located in Hoboken and Jersey City, will include a bike share station, conventional bike rental, helmets and safety support, biking equipment, and tourist information.
The contract award requires the approval of the Councils of the three cities.