Zagster bikes lined up on Mt. Hope Avenue at Collegetown are pictured in this 2017 file photo. (Photo: TINA MACINTYRE-YEE, @tyee23/staff photographer)
Bike-share could return to Rochester — and launch in the suburbs or local college campuses — as early as next month.
The city’s program would roll out on a limited basis alongside a wider network aligned with the Regional Transit Service. The debut of e-scooters also is in the offing.
Rochester is, in essence, piggybacking on three-year deal that Florida-based CycleHop, doing business as HOPR, made with the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority earlier this year for a pedal and electric bike-share program.
Both efforts are still works in progress.
In the city, the program start will be limited, seen more as a trial run in preparation for a full launch in the spring, said Alex Yudelson, chief of staff to Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.
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“We’re looking right now, trying to figure out what is the most convenient (locations) with an eye toward equity,” Yudelson said. “Now that HOPR is working with RTS, I think it expands our ability to move a little closer to some of the boundaries of the city.”
RTS, meanwhile, has heard from several towns and colleges expressing interest. HOPR is working with them directly, said RTS spokesman Tom Brede, and hopes to have as many as 150 bikes available this fall.
Back in March, the RGRTA board authorized a contract for HOPR to operate a pedal and electric bike-share program across its service area, generally between April 1 and Oct. 31. That was supposed to launch this summer, and did not include the city because the city had secured its own federal funding for such a program, board minutes show.
CycleHop operates in a number of U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Tampa Bay. HOPR, specifically, operates 600 dockless bikes on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, priced at $2.50 per ride or $25 for a monthly pass.
Warren this week asked City Council to grant HOPR use of the public right of way to operate a shared mobility program, with details to be worked out later.
“Public bikeshare has been a widespread success in the city of Rochester,'” Warren wrote to Council members, adding that teaming up with RTS was “the most timely, cost-effective and user-friendly option” to continue.
The city’s previous bike-share program run by Zagster/Pace from July 2017 through last October, was the most successful program of its kind nationally. But the company abruptly pulled out of the deal this spring, since has shut down and is in the process of being liquidated, the mayor wrote.
Contact reporter Brian Sharp at [email protected] or at 585-258-2275. Follow him on Twitter @sharproc. This coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Sign up today for a digital subscription.
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