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City hopes to roll out bike-share program this summer

City hopes to roll out bike-share program this summer

April 27th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

Eleanor Schepers, left, and Louis Schepers enjoy morning biking Monday, May 15, 2017 on the Katy Trail near Jefferson City.

Photo by Shelby Kardell /News Tribune.

As early as mid-June, Jefferson City residents and visitors will be able to rent bicycles through a local bike-share program.

The city is working to draft a contract with bike-share program company Skinny Labs Inc. DBA Spin.

Spin suggested 150 bicycles, which could be checked out by visitors and residents. Riders can download an app and pay as they ride — $1 for 30 minutes.

The bikes would be dockless, which means bicycles would not be docked at designated bike stations. Spin and the city can designate areas where they encourage people to park their GPS-equipped bikes, but Spin will send out staff at the end of every day to relocate all bikes back to the designated areas.

"Through an app, whenever someone signs up for Spin, they'll tell them their location, Jefferson City, and every bike is equipped with GPS, so then it will ping where the bikes are located," said Amy Schroeder, community relations manager for the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. "So it will tell (Spin staff) where to find the bikes."

Spin also would offer an alternate payment method for people who do not have smartphones or credit cards.

Spin's bike-share program would be of no cost to the city. Competing companies' proposals were priced between $66,000-$90,000 annually. Its estimated cost is lower since Spin receives funding from private venture capital and operating venue from other markets, Schroeder said.

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While Spin proposed only 150 bicycles in the initial proposal, Schroeder said they also have proposed providing e-scooters at no cost if the city is interested. Some commissioners said while e-scooters would be fun, the city would need to review its code.

"You have to think about those different codes we have for sidewalk use and road use," Schroeder said. "For instance, right now on our greenway, motorized vehicles are not allowed on the greenway, so we have to figure out what that means for e-bikes or e-scooters."

Schroeder said the earliest a contract with Spin could be finalized would be mid-May, and the company needs about four weeks to implement the program.

The Jefferson City Environmental Quality Commission and Jefferson City Bicycle Subcommittee have been working toward a bike-share program since last summer. Originally the city planned to subscribe to Zagster, but Spin's bid won city staff's and commissioners' votes.

"We have a good amount of infrastructure with our greenways; and any chance we can have to encourage people to get out there and exercise while at the same time not using cars and those emissions, it's a win-win situation," Schroeder said.