City Previews Bike Share Program
NEW ORLEANS — Today, the city of New Orleans, in conjunction with Social Bicycles Inc. (SoBi), announced the preview of the city’s bike share program that will take place from Feb. 15 until Feb. 23.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City Council members and Ryan Rzepecki, founder/ CEO of Social Bicycles Inc., debuted the preview program at the Bienville Basin Street Intersection, 1201 Bienville St., at 9:45 a.m.
During the preview, residents and visitors can sign up and use one of the 35 bicycles to ride between seven temporary stations setup in Downtown, the French Quarter and Iberville neighborhood. Two additional existing bicycle racks will be available to end a ride or find a bike.
After several years of work by bicycle advocates, a feasibility study was commissioned by the city and the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission (RPC) in late 2014 to understand the opportunity and models for bike share in the city. Following the results of that study and subsequent review, the city released a Request for Proposals (RFP) in April 2016 for a privately owned and operated system. Social Bicycles, Inc. led the team that was selected as the best proposal and they have completed a five year agreement, which was ratified by the City Council on Nov. 3, 2016.
City reps said SoBi bicycles are designed to be theft and tamper proof. The “smart bike” has an integrated computer, GPS and locking device right on the bicycle. This not only allows for lots of data collection and theft protection, but also allows users to track the stats (time, distance and route) of all their rides, city reps said.
SoBi bikes also offer two unique features:
• Out-of-Hub Locking: This feature allows users to end their trip outside of a hub/station for a nominal fee but also allows users to return an out-of-hub/ station bike back to a hub/station for a credit/bonus.
• Holds: This feature allows users to securely temporarily lock their rented bike and keep it reserved under their account so they can run an errand and ensure that bicycle is there when they are ready.
The program costs:
• $10 for unlimited trips up to 60 minutes of riding time per day during the entire preview; or
• $8 an hour, pro-rated by the minute
To sign up:
• Download the Social Bicycles app for iPhones and Android phones.
• Greeters with tablets at various stations during busy times to help people signup and get started biking.
All equipment and bicycles will be removed on Feb. 24 in advance of the second weekend of Mardi Gras.
New Orleans Bike Share preview map