ABQ’s bike-sharing program to get an upgrade

By Nancy Tipton / Journal Staff Writer

The Mid-Region Council of Governments will expand its bicycle sharing program in March with vendor Zagster. (Courtesy of Zagster)

 

Albuquerque’s two-year-old bike-sharing program is about to get a major upgrade.

The Mid-Region Council of Governments will expand the program, called BICI, from 75 bicycles and 15 stations to 250 bicycles and 50 stations around the first of March with vendor Zagster.

Valerie Hermanson, a planner with Mid-Region Council of Governments, said Wednesday that the program has been very well-received in the areas served over the past two years and new funding through the federal government’s Transportation Alternatives Program for 2017-18 will bring in $1.2 million for capital expenses.

“People in the university area and Nob Hill have actively sought expansion of the program to their areas,” she said. “And we at Mid-Rio look at this expansion as a natural addition to public transportation – fitting in well with ART.”

Zagster was selected through a request for a proposal to continue as providers of the equipment and has been working with MRCOG within the community to identify future station locations. Since May 2016, planners have had meetings with neighborhood associations, public and pop-up meetings, published newsletters, and developed a crowdsource map to identify areas that would best be suited for expansion.

The next phase is targeting stations in downtown, the University of New Mexico area, and Nob Hill, Hermanson said.

A draft of proposed – but not finalized – station locations is ready for additional input, she said.

Planners will be available at the following events to answer questions and gather feedback about the program:

• Nob Hill Shop N’ Stroll Dec. 7, 5-10 p.m. A booth will be set up in front of Slice Parlor (3410 Central SE).

• Open house Dec. 8, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mid-Region Council of Governments (809 Copper NW).

• Email suggestions to Bikeshare@mrcog-nm.gov.

Suggestions for bike share stations in other areas for consideration in future expansion phases are also being taken.

On Thursday, Zagster announced that Albuquerque’s bike share will be part of its Pace program, which features a first-of-its kind dockless model. Albuquerque will join Tallahassee, Fla., Rochester, N.Y., Knoxville, Tenn., and Huntsville, Ala., as the first cities to join Pace, with each launch scheduled before April 1, 2018.

The Pace model makes it easy to adapt to the city’s needs, Hermanson said, by using modular dedicated bike racks that can easily be moved to another area. It also has a two-point security system to mitigate theft and make it easier to lock them to public bike racks.

Pace uses an app, available in the App Store or Google Play. One tap in the app unlocks the bike, allowing a rider to get rolling in seconds. There is no membership fee to join Pace and rides start at just $1 per half hour.

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