King County wants a bike sharing program

A bike-sharing parade to celebrate the launch of Denver's B-Cycle program this year.

Seattle Transit Blog pointed out yesterday that a bike sharing pilot program is on the PSRC’s list of projects recommended for federal funding. Martin H. Duke asked Metro planners for more details:

Grant funding is critical to getting the program launched. The capital cost of launching a program is estimated to be in the range of $3500 – $4500 per bike. Operating costs are estimated to be in the range of $1200 – 1600 per bike, and are normally funded through subscription fees.

King County has been awarded $150,000 in Transportation Enhancement money for 2011 to fund business model development, site selection and right-of-way permitting. Our application was for $1.83 million ($1.68 million for construction)… We will continue to pursue funding opportunities from a number of sources prior to there being an actual program.

The current plan is to launch the program in 2012 with 500 bikes in downtown Seattle, SLU, UW, Redmond. But there’s gonna hafta be some more money, of course.

Bike sharing programs are taking off all over the country with much success. Cities from Denver to Chicago to Washington DC have recently launched programs. My friends in Denver tell me the system there has basically turned into a craze. For all those who don’t want to invest money in a new bike or in fixing their old one (or even just pumping up the tires), this is a chance for them to get riding without the headache.

The systems work very well when tied into public transit, allowing people to take transit most the way, but take a bike from the transit hub to the bike station nearest their destinations. Or, if you live close to a station, you have a well-maintained and functioning bicycle waiting for you for a small fee, paid either daily, monthly or annually.

According to STB, most programs have annual subscription fees of $45-$75 plus some hourly rate. Often, the first half hour is free.

I wonder if the bike stations could be tied to ORCA… (getting ahead of myself, first we need the system!)

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