ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The concept is popular in other cities, and now Albuquerque is ready to test out bike sharing. The project will roll out in downtown and could expand across the city.
Stations to rent bicycles will be set up downtown, with between 35 and 50 bicycles that can be rented.
“I think it’d be a really good idea. A lot of people ride bikes around here,” said Jordan Lockwood, who rides his bike five miles each way to school.
The idea is to get more people riding bicycles. The Mid-Region Council of Governments said a study found nearly 2,000 trips each weekday involve someone getting into a car in downtown Albuquerque and driving less than a mile.
The Albuquerque Bike Share pilot program is known as BICI. BICI is working with bike sharing company Zagster.
The bicycle debuting in Albuquerque is the Breezer Uptown, known for lightweight, durable construction and being ideal for city riding. The bikes have seven-gears, a one-size frame, adjustable seats and include baskets.
“Basically what you’re doing is for a very inexpensive fee, renting a bike for a short duration to get you from point A to point B. So it helps us be more walkable, bikable community,” Mayor R.J. Berry told KRQE News 13.
To rent a bike, riders will log in to an account, enter a unique ID number of the bike they wish to ride and the app provides an access code for the lock box, a news release explained.
Costs are still being determined as Albuquerque evaluates costs in other cities. They will be announced April 15.
Berry said that for an initial period, it will be free to rent the bicycles. He explained there are accountability measures to make sure the bikes that are rented are returned.
“A lot of cities have had these in place for a number of years, so a lot of these bugs in these programs have been worked out, in New York City, San Francisco and other areas,” he said.
Exact locations have not been announced, but Civic Plaza, the Convention Center, and the BioPark are expected to have the bicycle sharing stations.
The first bikes will roll out on May 15, which is National Bike to Work Day. The test period will last one year. It’s being funded by a PNM grant, private sponsors and the city.
Other pilot project sponsors include the Historic District Improvement Company, SMG for the Albuquerque Convention Center, Silver Moon Apartments, Vital Foods, FatPipe and Tractor Brewing Company at Wells Park.
“Anything that gets people moving around not in their car is a good thing,” said Michael Eads, a visitor from Detroit.