RIDE Solutions and Zagster Inc., in partnership with the City of Roanoke and Carilion Clinic, today launched a new bike share program that will provide all Roanoke’s residents and visitors with a convenient, affordable and healthy way to get around town.
Starting today, 50 cruiser bikes will be available at 10 stations for members to use for on-demand, local trips. Riders can pay by the hour, or join the program by signing up for annual memberships. Rides for members — who must be 18 or older — are free for the first hour, and then $3 per hour after that.
An exploratory survey conducted earlier this year found broad-based support for a bike share program with reasonable fees that will help people enjoy everything the community has to offer. In the survey, 92% of respondents said they would be interested in joining a bike share program in Roanoke — with a majority saying they would be “very interested.”
“Clearly there is a strong interest in bike sharing in our community, so we’re thrilled to partner with Zagster to serve that demand,” said RIDE Solutions Director Jeremy Holmes. “This bike share program simultaneously advances Roanoke’s commitments to economic development and environmental stewardship, all while providing the entire community with an active and enjoyable way to get around.”
Roanoke’s bike share promises to ease commutes, but it also unlocks vast recreational opportunities for exercise and fun. Unlike big-city bike shares, in which riders must drop off bikes at designated stations for every stop, the built-in lock on every Zagster bike gives users the freedom to ride as long as they want, wherever they want. This hybrid model, which blends dockless locking for mid-trip stops with fixed station locations for beginning and ending rides, allows users to plan their trips around their destinations — and not around station locations.
This program delivers a full-scale bike share to the entire Roanoke community — with the vast majority of funding coming from private sponsorships. That unique feature is made possible by a community partnership, facilitated by RIDE Solutions and Zagster, that includes lead funding from the Carilion Clinic and supplemental funding from Allegheny Partners, Coca Cola Bottling Company, Downtown Roanoke, Inc., Garland Properties, RGM Communities, Richmond Loft Co., Roanoke Natural Foods, Access Advertising, CitySpace, and Freedom First Credit Union.
“The health of our community is why we exist, so we’re honored to be part of projects like this that encourage healthy living and promote community vibrancy,” said Shirley Holland, Vice President of Planning and Community Development for Carilion Clinic.
Riding Roanoke’s bike share is easy. Bikes can be found via the free Zagster Mobile App — available for iPhone and Android — or online at zagster.com/ridesolutions. With just the single touch of a button in the app, riders can control a Bluetooth-enabled locking system that features two points of security. (Alternatively, riders can obtain unlock codes via text message to use with an on-bike keypad.) A ring lock prevents the rear wheel from spinning or being removed, and two sturdy cables — one at each station dock, and one on each bike — connect to the ring lock, allowing riders to either tether bikes to Zagster stations at the end of their trips, or to public bike racks for mid-ride stops.
Roanoke’s bike share features the Zagster 8, an award-winning bike known for its practical design, comfortable ride and easy handling. The bike includes a spacious basket that’s perfect for carrying groceries, takeout, or personal belongings. And because rider safety is a priority, every bike includes automatic lights, a bell, and full reflectors.
RIDE Solutions and system sponsors unveiled the program at a kickoff ceremony on Wednesday, May 24th at 10 a.m. at the Market Street Station in Downtown Roanoke. The event included a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, inaugural ride and bike share demo, with remarks from RIDE Solutions Director Jeremy Holmes, Councilman Dr. David Trinkle, Aaron Garland from Garland Properties, and Keli Hoyt-Rupert of Zagster.
Several community outreach events and membership drives will take place at Wasena Station (5/24), Roanoke Memorial Station (5/25), Grandin Village Station (5/27) and West End Station (5/31). More information on the community events can be found at ridesolutions.org/bikeshare.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Zagster is the leading provider of private and public-private bike sharing systems in the United States. Zagster works directly with more than 150 communities in more than 30 states to make bike sharing available in areas where traditional bike-share providers can’t reach. Its efficient business model allows the company to successfully deploy in multiple markets, including cities, suburbs, universities, commercial campuses and residential properties. Zagster’s all-inclusive service — which covers everything from hardware and software, to maintenance and marketing — lowers the cost and complexity of bike sharing to both communities and riders, enabling Zagster’s partners to create and deploy scalable bike share systems that best suit their needs. The company’s goal: To make the bike the most loved form of transportation.
More information about Zagster and its programs can be found at www.zagster.com
About RIDE Solutions
RIDE Solutions is a sustainable transportation program operated by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission in cooperation with the New River Valley Planning District Commission, Region 2000, and the West Piedmont Workforce Investment Board. It provides multimodal trip planning services for citizens and employers throughout Central and Southwest Virginia. More about RIDE Solutions can be found at www.ridesolutions.org
Media Contact for Zagster
Jon Terbush, Zagster communications manager
Media Contact for RIDE Solutions
Jeremy Holmes, RIDE Solutions director