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City of Philadelphia

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bike share?

Bike sharing is a new, convenient, affordable, healthy, and fun form of public transportation. A fleet of easy to ride and professionally maintained bikes and network of docking stations will be deployed in spring 2015. The bikes and docking stations will provide a new public transit system that makes it easy to take short trips from station to station on your schedule. Bike share users can access a bike at any station and return it to any other station by using a member card or credit/debit card. With bike share, you can easily make one way trips by bike, such as from your neighborhood to an el-stop, from school to a job, or from work to go meet friends.

Where will bike share be?

Beginning in spring 2015, stations will be located from Temple University to the Navy Yard and from the Delaware River to West Philadelphia.

How does it work?

Each bike share station will have a kiosk for payment and multiple docking spaces that securely park, or dock, bike share bikes. Riders can use a member card or credit/debit card to check out a bike from the station. After riding, return the bike to any bike share station. Docking the bike at a station automatically checks it in. Once you’ve checked the bike into the station, you’re done. Just walk away and get on with your day. Return, ride, repeat.

Who will use it?

Bike share will connect residents, commuters and visitors to the places they want to go. Bicycle share users in other cities range from casual riders, who take bikes out occasionally on weekends, to those who commute to work or run errands on bike share almost every day.

What are the bikes like?

Bike share bicycles are designed to be easy to ride. With simple seat adjustments, they can fit almost anyone. Bicycles will have sturdy, step-through frames and front and rear lights. These safety features will allow bike share to be available for trips 24 hours a day.

Who pays for it?

Bike sharing is funded through a combination of sources. The City has committed $3 million in capital funds to pay for bikes and stations. These public funds have been matched by an additional $3 million in federal and foundation funding to purchase bikes and stations. Users and systems sponsors will pay for the costs of operating the system, such as for maintenance and cleaning.

How much will it cost to ride bike share?

Fares have not been finalized, but will be affordable and will be designed to encourage trips of 30 minutes or less rather than lng rides. In other cities, typical trips are one to two miles and are much shorter than 30 minutes.

I don't have a credit or debit card. How can I use bike share?

The City of Philadelphia is proud to say that we’ll be the first major bike share system to launch with memberships that don’t require a credit or debit card. Details on these alternate types of memberships are being developed now. These memberships will go on sale at the same time as other membership types in early spring of next year.

Will the City require that riders wear a helmet?

While it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, helmets will not be required for users of Philadelphia’s bike share system. We’ll be working with local retailers and other organizations to provide low cost helmets to bike share members.

How safe is bike share to use?

Bike share bicycles are designed to be safe. These professionally maintained bicycles will have sturdy, step-through frames that put the rider in an upright and easily visible position. Front and rear lights shine automatically when you pedal. With simple seat adjustments, the bikes can fit almost anyone.

Bike share has proven to be an extremely safe form of transportation. In a recently published study in the American Journal of Public Health, cities with bike share programs have seen a reduction in the overall number of cycling related injuries. This is made even more remarkable by the presence of hundreds of thousands of additional bicycles on the roads each year. We expect the same story to be repeated here in Philadelphia.

In numerous studies conducted in the US and Europe, an increase in cyclist numbers is associated with a steady, or even declining overall number of bicycle crashes. We’ve seen this happening here in Philadelphia already—between 2000 and 2010 the number of bicyclists on city streets nearly doubled, and the total number of bicycle crashes decreased by 50%. There is every reason to believe that safety trends in Philadelphia will mirror those in our peer cities such as Washington DC, Boston and New York.

Who will take care of the bicycles?

All maintenance, cleaning and operations will be carried out by the City’s bike share operator, Bicycle Transit Systems. Bicycle Transit Systems is a Philadelphia-based business with perhaps the most experienced bike share operating team in the industry. Members of Bicycle Transit Systems launched and operated bike share programs in Washington DC, Boston and Chicago. The Bicycle Transit Systems maintenance team will be constantly on the move—checking bicycles on a daily basis to make sure they’re clean, safe and fully functional.

What happens if I get a flat tire while riding?

Don’t worry about flat tires ever again! If your bike has a mechanical issue such as a flat tire, simply dock it at the nearest bike share station, report the issue, and retrieve another bike. One of the big benefits of bike share membership is that users do the riding, and Bicycle Transit does the repairing.

How old do I have to be to ride?

Riders will need to be 18 years old or older to check out bicycles.

How will the City prevent theft?

There are a number of ways that our bike share system will prevent theft. The bikes themselves are built to withstand both the elements and the thieves who would steal bicycle parts. Each piece of the bike is secured with tamper-resistant hardware and parts that are unique to bike share. When a bike is properly docked in the station, there is no way for someone to steal it without destroying the bike.

In addition, check-outs are linked to a customer’s membership card or credit/debit card, meaning that accountability is built into the system. Still, it’s important to remember to never leave a bike share bike unattended, even for a minute. Always end each trip by properly docking the bike back into a station.

Where will the stations be located?

You can expect to find bike share stations in neighborhood parks, near recreation centers, at Center City businesses and cultural institutions. Most bike share stations will be on sidewalks and in plazas, but the stations are flexible and can be placed on most hard, flat surfaces. Bike share stations will be easy to find as you walk through the city, and each station will feature a map of the surrounding area including nearby stations, other attractions and destinations. The Bike Transit team will be developing a new app for phone or tablet that will help users navigate the system and figure out where available bikes and docking spaces are.

How will bike share stations be planned?

Stations will be planned during the summer and fall of 2014. Our first step is to map demand for bike share stations using data such as online station suggestions, density and number of jobs, population and other destinations. We’ve added in information on bicycle lanes and trails, transit stops, and requests for stations by private property owners. We will then work to identify the locations where bike share stations can comfortably fit. We recognize that maps can only guide us so far, so we’ll be visiting possible sites in the public right-of-way, in parks and plazas, and on private property (such as university campuses). Nobody knows Philadelphia like the people who live, work and play here, so the City will be reaching out to neighborhoods, institutions, and businesses in the bike share service area to gain feedback on potential station locations. In order to make bike share successful, we will be considering convenience, safety, and seeking to minimize conflicts between bike share users and other roadway users.

How can I comment on proposed station locations?

Got some great ideas? Want to let us know how we’re doing? Check this website, and specifically Have Your Say , for more information. In the coming months there will be a variety of ways to comment on proposed station locations: online, in person, and via phone/text.