According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland’s largest city has recently released $2.36 million in funding for a bikeshare partnership with Canadian company Bewegen Technologies that will deploy 500 bikes on the streets this fall. The fleet will include 200 bikes with electric pedal assistance, which will be the largest share in North and South America, according to Bewegen.
Funding for the bikeshare program, “Charm City Bikeshare,” was approved on March 16 and will be implemented in the fall of 2016, creating 50 stations around Baltimore. Locations will stretch from the Inner Harbor westward to Union Square, north to Charles North, eastward to Canton, and south to Locust Point according to The Baltimore Sun. Each bike will be tracked with GPS, allowing planners to create stations as per demand.
The program will create nearly 80 local jobs including employing veterans from the Baltimore Station, a home for those recovering from homelessness and drug addiction.
Though it has not yet been determined how much it will cost to rent the bikes, it is speculated to be at a rate of approximately $4 an hour, with the first half hour being free, similar to other national bikesharing programs. Nearby Washington, DC, has a bikesharing program of over 3,000 bikes and 350 stations and charges an $8 per day membership fee in addition to the rental rate.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is head of the board who approved the spending, said, “For Baltimore, expanding our network of sustainable transportation options is critical both to retaining our residents and attracting new families into our city. Being a bikeable city means being a better, more livable city, and it also means making Baltimore greener, cleaner and healthier.”
Mayor Rawlings-Blake clearly understands the numerous benefits of a cycling city as she added, “We may see a positive ripple effect in the overall health of our city with the implementation of the bike-share program.”