Will bike-share systems become the norm for NJ’s growing cities?
Bayonne officials exploring the idea of introducing a citywide bike-share system may benefit from taking some pointers from a couple neighboring towns.
According to the mayors of Hoboken and Jersey City, their bike-borrowing programs have seen tremendous usage and success since launching in late 2015.
Every Hoboken resident is within a five-minute walk to a station where, at a price, a bike can be picked up or dropped off, according to Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
"We have 250 bikes that are available, and we've had so far 150,000 rides this year," Zimmer said.
Hudson Bike Share offers 30-minute trips for $2, as well as monthly and annual memberships. In a city of 53,000 people, Zimmer said the program has over 12,000 "members."
"We've also found that this is part of an attraction for new businesses," Zimmer said, noting business owners want to come to spots that are easily navigable.
To better align itself with the transportation infrastructure of New York City, Jersey City launched its version of Citi Bike on Sept. 21, 2015.
Mayor Steven Fulop said the effort also helps with tourism. The program is approaching 3,000 members and it's "overachieving every single metric that Citi Bike had for Jersey City," he said.
"Making money wasn't really our intention," he said. "Losing money is something we didn't want to do, and we're happy it's being funded by private dollars."
Originally at 35, the number of pickup/drop-off locations is now approaching 50. Fulop said the stations are dispersed in a way that gives all residents an equal shot at utilizing the service, which offers a day pass, three-day pass and annual membership.
According to Fulop, Citi Bike has become such a wanted "amenity" that proximity to a station could impact a potential homeowner or renter's decision on where to live.
At their Dec. 14 meeting, Bayonne City Council moved forward with the bike-share idea by allowing a request for proposals to see how companies envision the project for the city.
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