BIKE SHARE — Local non-profit Positively Rome launched a bicycle share program this past August in cooperation with Zagster and several local groups that contributed funding. The program consists of three bike stations with a total of 16 bikes. The stations are spread out along the city’s paved Mohawk River Trail. The program’s first year numbers are in, and organizers are pleased and ready to start it again, possibly as soon as April 1. (Sentinel file photo by John Clifford)

Organizers pleased with first year of bicycle-sharing service

Published Jan 7, 2017 at 4:10pm

In its first year of operations, the bicycle-sharing service in Rome from Positively Rome and Zagster reported 850 “trips” — rentals —between Aug. 11 and Nov 1.

The average ride time was 50 minutes. The program cost was $1 per hour during the first year, and will be $2 per hour next year to help cover annual operation costs, noted Jake DiBari, co-founder of Positively Rome.

No bikes were lost or reported stolen in 2016, DiBari noted.

“We couldn’t be more pleased about the bike share program’s first year results. Positively Rome likes to push the envelope of what’s possible in Rome, and we’re really thankful of how supportive the public has been to our ideas and initiatives,” DiBari said.

The program has 16 cruiser bikes at three stations for members to use for on-demand for local trips.

Riders, who must be 18 or older, join the program by signing up for daily or annual passes via smartphones. Rides for daily pass-holders are $1 for the first hour, and then $3 per hour after that. Rides for annual pass-holders are free for the first hour and $3 per hour after that. 

The bike share includes a three-wheeled bike with two seats, which will allow people who travel with a guardian the ability to utilize the bike share program. The city is home to three rental stations along the Mohawk River Trail — at Bellamy Harbor Park, Fort Stanwix National Monument and the trail head at just inside Griffiss Park near the bridge over the river.

Bikes can be found via the free Zagster Mobile App — available for iPhone and Android — or online at zagster.com/rome. Each bike has a unique number which riders enter into the app to obtain a single-use code to open the lockbox on the back of the bike. Alternatively, riders can obtain unlock codes via text message. A key, stored inside and tethered to the lockbox, allows the bike to be locked and unlocked throughout a ride. After the rider returns the bike to a designated Zagster bike station, the rental ends and the bike is available for the next person.

Positively Rome and Fort Stanwix received a $25,000 grant from the Outdoor Foundation, 20,000 from The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, $5,000 from Rome Community Foundation and a $15,000 in-kind donation from Griffiss Park Landowners Association.

April 1 is the target date for the program to be open in 2017, DiBari said.

Zagster, of Cambridge, Mass., announced earlier this week that it had raised $10 million in venture funding to be used to grow the company’s staff and the reach of its bike-sharing programs.