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Philadelphia’s Bike-Sharing Program Moves Forward

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(File photo: Mayor Nutter tries out a sample bike-share vehicle near Rittenhouse Square.  Credit: Steve Tawa)

(File photo: Mayor Nutter tries out a sample bike-share vehicle near Rittenhouse Square. Credit: Steve Tawa)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Nutter administration is pedaling ahead with plans for a citywide bike sharing program, to be formally launched next year (see related story).

The city now has an official web page for the bike share program, at phila.gov/bikeshare.

“This site allows businesses and residents and advocates to tell us where they think bike-share locations and stations should be,” says Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation, who is also issuing what’s called an RFI — a request for interest — to judge the degree of interest that private firms have in hosting bike share stations at their businesses.

“There will be somewhere between 150 and 200 bike share stations,” she tells KYW Newsradio.  “They’ll hold ten bikes a piece.”

Cutler, though, isn’t worried about what the level of interest will be:

“We have been approached already by tremendous numbers of developers, cultural institutions, and universities, many of which have already raised their hand and said, ‘When you’re ready, we’re ready.’ “

Cutler says the city is also exploring sponsorships and the possible sale of naming rights, as New York City did for its bike share program.   This, she said, will be needed so that no tax dollars are needed to cover the program’s estimated startup cost of $10-15 million.

“Because we have made a commitment not to have the city budget pay for any of the operating costs related to this program, we continue to try to figure out how we can bring in additional dollars to support it,” she said today.

The city hopes the bike share program will eventually lead to two million riders per year.  The launch is now planned for fall of 2014.

The bikes are typically 40-pound, three-speed models.  Customers unlock a bicycle with a credit or smart card after paying a fee, then ride away.  The bike can be returned at a station near their destination.

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