City Council to Discuss Proposed Puget Sound Bike Share Program

Aug 12, 2013

After years of planning, Seattle officials are likely to move one step closer to bringing a new form of public transportation to the city. The Seattle City Council's transportation committee will discuss the rent-a-bike program called “Bike Share" at its meeting Tuesday.

Here's how it would work. You stick a credit card into a kiosk and get a code that accesses a bike parked on the sidewalk. Then you "take it, ride it to any other station within the system, and drop it there," said Holly Houser, executive director of Puget Sound Bike Share. "It’s really meant to be sort of a way to get from Point A to Point B; a last-mile connector from existing transit hubs, from workplace to retail."           

Puget Sound Bike Share is the nonprofit group that would oversee a program already in place in 30 North American cities.

The $4 million program would place 500 bikes at 50 stations downtown and in South Lake Union, Capitol Hill and the U-District next spring. More than half of the money for the program has been raised from public and private funds. Houser hopes to secure the remaining funds through corporate sponsorship. The estimated annual operating cost for the program is $1.4 million.

A yearly membership to participate in the program would be about $85. A daily fee would be about $8 for a bike and $3 to rent a helmet. Seattle has a bike helmet law, and the helmets would be sanitized after every return.

City leaders have been pushing for more bicycling in the city along with ways of reducing the rate of bike collisions. They are currently reviewing its Bike Master Plan.