ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Driving downtown by Parcel 5 or the Liberty Pole on a warm day, you’ll run into a lot of them: electric scooters, electric bikes and pedal bikes are planted around the city, and eventually surrounding suburbs.
It’s a new bike and scooter share program that launched Friday, June 4. Partnering with vendor company HOPR, The City of Rochester is offering 200 pedal bikes, 200 electric bikes and 100 electric scooters.
Tom Brede with Rochester Regional Transit Service says it’s a couple years in the works – inspired after a previous share vendor, Zagster/PACE left.
Brede says RTS was able to apply for a grant to bring on the new vendor, with the goal of expanding the share program into the surrounding suburbs.
“It’s needed, people want this option, but it also speaks to how easy it is to use you just download the app, attach method of payment, follow the instructions,” he said.
He says this is just the beginning — the goal is to get even more racks on the streets.
“One of the things we’ve heard from a lot of people they just want more ways to get around.”
Nonprofit organization Reconnect Rochester has been working with HOPR and the City in this project. The group has been advocating for equitable distribution.
“Stations need to be located throughout the city, not just in downtown or wealthier areas of the city, the service has to extend to underserved populations,” said Mary Staropoli, Director of Planning and Development with the organization.
Staropoli says previous share programs were huge successes. The programs are also an economic opportunity.
“We know that from the ridership mapping and data from previous operator (Zagster/PACE) many residents were heavily using the bike share to get to suburban job locations,” she said.
Staropoli and Brede say you’ll likely see more stations popping up in the coming months. And in the process, removing barriers, so people can have another option for getting around. One that’s accessible and affordable.
Bikes charge 15 cents a minute – ebikes and escooters just over 20 cents a minute.
This is not a pilot program – organizers say they hope to keep it around for as long as possible.