Portland now has a bike-sharing program, thanks to a little help from the hometown shoe giant.
BIKETOWN debuted today in Portland, offering folks another way to get around town via one of 1,000 orange bicycles distributed between 100 bike racks. The long-awaited public-private partnership is a collaboration between the city, operator Motivate, and Nike, which has its logo on the “smart” bicycles.
The bicycles themselves, modeled after the Nike orange shoe box, are considered “smart.” Unlike Seattle’s bike-share program, BIKETOWN has embedded technology into the bicycles themselves, rather than the rack stations, and works more like Car2go. Each bike has a solar-powered display and is equipped with GPS. They communicate with an accompanying app (iOS, Android), which allows users to pay for memberships and reserve bikes. You can also reserve a bike online, with a member card, at some bike stations, or via the bike itself.
Annual memberships run at $12 per month, which allows for 90 minutes of riding per day. Single-ride passes are available for $2.50, which allows for 30 minutes of riding for one trip; you can also pay $12 for 24-hour access, 180 minutes of ride time, and unlimited trips.
BIKETOWN said that as of Tuesday morning, more than 1,000 people had signed up for annual memberships.
You can see the system map here, which shows the bike stations and updated availability information. The eight-speed bikes can also be parked at public bike racks for an additional fee.
The Oregonian has a solid rundown of the new bike-sharing program, which is one of 60 nationwide and 500 around the globe. OPB reported that the program cost $4 million to launch, paid for by federal grants and Nike.
Meanwhile in Seattle, the City Council approved legislation in March that directs $1.4 million to buy out a struggling bike-share program. Seattle’s program, called Pronto Cycle Share, also debuted as a public-private partnership but didn’t meet projections for ridership numbers and eventually was deemed “insolvent” due to operating losses.