The new CDPHPCycle! bike-share program will debut Thursday morning at 40 locations across the Capital Region.
Sturdy rental bikes were due to be delivered overnight, and the bike share was expected to be in business at all locations following a 10 a.m. news conference in Albany’s Washington Park, officials at the Capital District Transportation Authority said Wednesday.
CDTA will actually be overseeing the regional system, though a Brooklyn company is providing the bikes and running day-to-day operations. Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan Inc. (CDPHP) is providing a corporate sponsorship.
There’s been a lot of public interest in the launch, which was announced last October.
“I don’t know what it is; there’s a different kind of buzz about it,” said Carm Basile, CEO of CDTA, which is best-known for operating the regional bus system.
There will only be about 160 bicycles initially, but that will be increased to 320 in the spring, thanks to a $2 million state grant awarded for the project. A separate $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation is helping get the network off the ground.
The racks where bikes are placed in Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga Springs and Troy will have payment kiosks, where people are generally expected to download an application to pay for and unlock a bike.
“This is a growth opportunity for us, and we are looking forward to much success,” Basile said at a CDTA board meeting Wednesday in Albany.
The basic rate for renting a CDPHPCycle! bicycle will be $5 per hour, with steep discounts for repeated use: A monthly pass allowing 60 minutes of ride time per day is priced at $15. There is also an annual pass being offered for $70, and a student annual pass for $35. The annual passes also allow for 60 minutes of riding time per day.
Under a bike-share program, people rent bicycles within a network of self-service stations, returning the bikes to the same station or another station within the network. The system will run from spring through fall, but it isn’t expected to operate during the winter months.
Social Bicycles of Brooklyn will provide the bikes and operate the system. The bikes are heavier and sturdier than standard road bikes, to withstand multiple users in urban environments.
There will be seven kiosks in Schenectady, including locations at Riverside Park in the Stockade; Schenectady County Community College; Proctors on State Street, the Vale Park entrance on Nott Terrace; Union Street and Nott Terrace; the Schenectady County Public Library central branch; and North Jay Street near Union College.
There will also be seven locations in Saratoga Springs, including Saratoga Spa State Park; the Saratoga YMCA; Saratoga Race Course; Congress Park; Broadway and Congress Street; Division Street and Broadway; and Caroline Street and Pavilion Place.
Basile said the locations were picked with input from community leaders and Social Bicycles, which operates similar bike-shares around the country. Another 20 or so kiosks will be opened in the spring, when the additional bicycles arrive.
A new website, cdphpcycle.com, has been set up and includes information on the program, including how to sign up.