(Cincinnati) -- Touting low cost, convenience, and efficiency, Mayor John Cranley has introduced the beginning of the long awaited bike share program. A RedBike station has been set up at Fountain Square, although it won't be operational for another month.
The City plans to have a total of 35 RedBike stations Downtown, in Over-the-Rhine, and Uptown, by the middle of September. Users can swipe a credit card at a station, and check out a bicycle for "unlimited" use with a day pass. Or, they will be able to order a yearly membership, online. Yearly passes are transferrable to other cities, 23 currently, with B Cycle bike share programs.
Costs have not been determined yet.
Mayor Cranley says cycling is inexpensive, healthy, convenient and produces no emissions, so it qualifies as green transportation.
While the name was chosen because of Cincinnati's connection to the Reds, the team is not sponsoring the program. RedBike Director Jason Barron says they're "aggressively" working on getting corporate supporters now. City Council approved $1.1 million for it this spring, and Barron says that money was matched by the private sector.
Barron says "Like all of systems of transporation, the user fees alone will not pay for it."
Riders on the bike share program in Indianapolis found out recently that if they didn't check into a station every 30 minutes, they were charged extra. That will apply in Cincinnati too. Barron says that's to keep bikes freed up for use by other people.
Barron says every bike will be inspected every two weeks, and each bike will have a phone number to call, if it breaks while you're riding. He says they'll send out someone to help.
He's not worried about the bikes being stolen or damaged, because in order to rent one, a rider must have a valid credit card, and with that, he says, they can charge the holder the $1,200 it costs to replace a bicycle. Bikes are also equipped with a GPS chip, for tracking. Barron says other communities with bike share programs have said they've had no problems with theft.
The 260 bicycles arrived Monday, and Barron says they're recruiting volunteer mechanics to help with assembly.
The bikes will be available year-round.