Nine months after Baltimore began offering rentable bikes at kiosks, Howard County has taken a page out of the city’s book.
Officials and community partners unveiled the county’s new Bikeshare system at a ceremony yesterday in Columbia. It’s a six-year pilot project consisting of seven kiosks spread around the planned community. There are 70 bikes in all, some of them with the electricity-assisted “Pedelec” option like here in the city. All of them come with baskets and adjustable seating.
Canadian transportation firm Bewegen Technologies, the same company that supplied Baltimore’s Bikeshare bikes, installed the stations around Columbia.
County Executive Allan Kittleman lauded the efforts of his Department of Transportation in setting up the program over the last year, as well as work by Core Logistics, a firm that operates and maintains Bikeshare systems around the region and employs homeless veterans.
The Republican county executive noted that for every public dollar used to fund the program, private entities contributed $15.
“Bikeshare has proven to be an invaluable asset in many ways, including improving safety, the economy and transforming transportation options,” he said. He said having stations and rentable bikes around reminds drivers they’re sharing the roads with cyclists, an often-overlooked truth that can be deadly when ignored.
It also looks good, partners noted.
Danielle McQuigg, director of nursing at Howard County General Hospital, said having a station on the hospital grounds “sends a visual sign to anybody coming and going that we really support physical activation and recreation and…a healthy lifestyle for everybody that’s in our community.”
Similarly to Baltimore’s system, a $15-a-month membership offers riders unlimited 45-minute rides, with a $2 charge for every 30 minutes past that mark. One-time passes cost $2, or devoted Bikesharers can get an annual pass for $85. Stats on the program’s website show nearly 69 people have already purchased passes, 62 of them occasional.
Six entities are supporting Howard County’s program: the Horizon Foundation, Columbia Association, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Howard County General Hospital, Howard Community College and General Growth Properties, which owns The Mall in Columbia. Each supplied funding as well as a spot for a Bikeshare station.
Click here to see a map of the seven stations, and let us know how it goes if you give it a try.