Salt Lake City officially launched its much-anticipated bike share program today. It’s called GREENbike and it offers unlimited short-term trips between stations scattered across the city.
GREENbike is not quite a rental system. With memberships ranging from $5 a day to $75 a year, users pick up a bike at one of the solar-powered kiosks. But instead of chaining it to a corral or storing it at an office, the user returns it to the nearest kiosk for someone else to use.
Ben Bolte is Bike Share Project Manager. He says only about one percent of the population in cities across the nation use cycling as their primary mode of transit, but about 60 percent say they would ride a bike if it were more convenient.
"And I think that’s what this program will do," Bolte says. "It’s going to expose a whole new segment of the population to something that might change their lives for the better.”
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker is an avid bike rider. Dressed in a suit and tie for today’s event, he says GREENbike is not designed for what he referred to as the lycra crowd.
“This is designed really for those of us who are downtown, dressed like this or any way and to be able to get on a bike that is stable, that is really easy to ride around on and will get you where you need to go quickly," Becker says.
One hundred, three-speed bicycles are now stationed at 10 different locations in the downtown area.
GREENbike was funded through a public/private partnership between Salt Lake City, Utah Transit Authority, Visit Salt Lake, SelectHealth and Rio Tinto | Kennecott.