On Monday, August 27 at 10:30 a.m., Mayor Steve Benjamin and City Council and City Officials held a press conference for the Bike Share Pre-Launch and Lead Sponsor Unveiling.
The Bike Share Program is an important component of the Walk/Bike Columbia Plan. Bike and Pedestrian Friendly Programs have championed by the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the effort to become a healthier and more connected City.
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has been announced as the lead sponsor for the new bike share initiative, which is called Blue Bike.
The Blue Bike share system is structured to operate like automated bike rentals for short periods. The structure encourages shorter, spontaneous trips where bikes are checked out, ridden for a short period of time and returned to any station in the system for someone else to use. The system consists of a fleet of user-friendly and hardy bikes placed at conveniently located stations. Approximately thirty-five percent of the bikes will have electric assist to allow users to access the community with ease.
The system will include a blend of stationary bike stations as well as virtual stations. In addition, temporary virtual stations can be established as needed to support special events taking place throughout Columbia. Bikes will be a blend of traditional bikes combined with Pedelec (electric assist) bikes, allowing and encouraging use of all levels of skill.
Overall, bike share provides a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and convenient travel option for many short trips. Bike share is a relatively inexpensive and quick infrastructure extension to a city’s public transportation system, allowing it to serve as a convenient ‘last mile’ connector and function as ‘transit by bike.’
The City is pleased to be working with Bewegen and their partner Corps Logistics to provide bike share. Bewegen was founded in 2013 and partners with industry-leading companies to provide bike share to communities such as Richmond, Virginia; Birmingham, Alabama; Raleigh, North Carolina and many more. Their system prioritizes adaptability and flexibility and offers the cutting edge and patented Pedelec (electric assist) technology that studies have shown results in higher usage rates for bike share systems.
The City plans to launch the Blue Bike program by the end of September 2018