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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

With UHBikes Coming to Town, Only Five Zagster Racks Remain

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 12:55 PM

click to enlarge More than 100 of these puppies coming to a neighborhood near you. - BIKE CLEVELAND
  • Bike Cleveland
  • More than 100 of these puppies coming to a neighborhood near you.
As you may have seen announced earlier this month, as many as 125 new bikes will hit Cleveland's streets in time for the RNC as part of a new bike share program that aims to have 700 total bikes at 70 stations across the city by 2020.

The program will be called “UHBikes,” named for title sponsor University Hospitals. The bikes are red unisex cruisers with a University Hospitals basket upfront. Details about rental cost and payment mechanisms are still being finalized. But county sustainability director Mike Foley has said he wants the program to be accessible to all, even those without credit cards. 

UHBikes will feature at least one nontraditional convenience: for a fee, riders can leave their bikes wherever they finish their ride — they won’t have to park at a docking station.

“The city is using bikes outfitted with GPS trackers and built-in locks that can attach to any bike rack,” wrote Vox.com in its analysis of Cleveland’s new program. “So if your destination station is full (or if you need to park someplace other than a station), you can simply lock the bike at whatever rack is closest at hand and get on with your day. Other riders can then use their smartphone apps to find the stray bike and grab it.”

The UHBikes program will be managed in partnership with CycleHop and Social Bicycles, who already run bike shares in Phoenix, Tampa and Beverly Hills. The program arrives in Cleveland less than two years after bike sharing was first introduced with Zagster.

Most of the organizations that sponsored bike racks through Zagster have elected not to renew their contracts in favor of a single system, Jacob Van Sickle, executive director of Bike Cleveland, told Scene recently. But five locations still remain.

(Those locations, from west to east: The Happy Dog at W. 58th & Detroit; Cleveland Public Library at Superior Avenue and E. 6th; the North Coast Harbor on the E. 9th Street pier; The Cleveland Museum of Art; and Notre Dame College, out near Legacy Village.) 

Sam McNulty, Cleveland's Brewery Czar who was one of Zagster’s private investors, was pleased with the results of the program.

“I’m very happy to see that our two-year experiment in private sector-funded public-access bike sharing spurred interest and action from the wider community,” he told Scene.

Dan Brennan, of Skylight Financial, was part of the original group of private investors that brought Zagster in as well. He said building momentum was the program's point.  

"My hope was that we'd get the city moving," Brennan told Scene. "Our feeling was that this had been languishing unnecessarily.  And [Zagster] successfully showed the decision-makers that this was a viable option, that there was not only a need but a desire for such a service in this city."


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