Jersey City’s New Bike-Share System Will Be Open to Citi Bike Members
Jersey City is preparing to launch a bike-share program this year that will be compatible with Citi Bike, according to an announcement yesterday from Alta Bicycle Share. Jersey City lawmakers awarded Alta the contract to operate the system on Monday.
The new system “will have reciprocal membership privileges with New York’s Citi Bike system,” Alta says, so if you belong to one system you can also use the other.
With an anticipated June start-up date, the Jersey City system will initially have around 350 bikes and 35 docking stations, with expansion down the line if the system proves popular. Alta expects to sign up 5,000 annual members by the end of the year. The pricing scheme will be similar Citi Bike’s.
Alta hasn’t announced yet who will sponsor the Jersey City system, but like Citi Bike, the new program will not be subsidized. The other interesting question is which hardware and software Alta will choose. It’s safe to assume that Jersey City won’t be getting the same buggy platform that Alta is looking to replace in New York.
One intriguing possibility would be to opt for something compatible with the Smart Bike system that Hoboken and Weehawken plan to roll out in the spring. Those cities opted for a “smart-lock” platform, allowing users to drop off their bikes anywhere in the service area instead of specific docking stations. Using compatible technology in Jersey City could lead to a more useful bike-share network throughout Hudson County.
Jersey City is working toward making its streets at least somewhat safer for cycling. As Streetsblog reported in 2013, Mayor Steven Fulop’s predecessor Jerramiah Healy failed to act on the city’s bike plan. But under Fulop, who rides a bike himself, Jersey City is in the process of striping 31 miles of bike lanes.
“Jersey City has one of the fastest growing biking populations and a community who utilizes bikes and mass transit for commuting to and from work,” said Fulop in the press release. “We anticipate this program will be one of the most-used in the nation and will develop a national model for a regional, urban bike share system.”