A popular local bike-sharing program is expanding its service in Aspen and locals can now vote on the locations for three new We-cycle satellite stations that will be operational in mid-May.
Aspen will be home to the first satellite docking stations being released by PBSC Urban Solutions, which provides the bikes for We-cycle. These stations are designed for residential areas, and bikes can be picked up with season passes and by using Transit App (www.transitapp.com).
Mirte Mallory, co-founder and executive director of We-cycle, said Monday that 20 stations and 110 bikes will be available in Aspen for the season, likely by May 15.
“We can’t think of a better way to kick off spring than with announcing to the community, to please participate in choosing where you’d like to have new We-cycle stations in Aspen this summer,” she said. “[The stations] are hot off the manufacturing line and this is the first place they will be debuting.”
Locally, ridership has increased from 10,000 rides in 2013, to more than 21,000 last year.
Voters can pull up a map at www.we-cycle.org and either drop a pin on a location they see as the best fit for a satellite station, or click on existing pins and up-vote that site. Voting will continue through May 10, Mallory said.
“Based on the feedback or the most popular areas, we will see what is achievable in terms of implementing stations in those locations, both operationally and locationally,” she said. “We’re psyched, we hope there is going to be a lot of community engagement.
“The system is designed to serve the community, so we look forward to hearing from the community where stations are best suited for this summer,” Mallory added.
The question posed to the community is: Where would a We-cycle station allow the most residents to avoid driving into the city, and instead ride a bike, to reduce congestion and alleviate parking challenges?
Mallory said, “So, how can a few new We-cycle stations facilitate reduced car trips in and around town?”
She added that the satellite stations have seven docking points and are smaller than those in the downtown core.
So far, a few popular locations in early voting include Truscott, Koch Park, the downtown parking garage, Rio Grande Plaza, Marolt seasonal housing, near the Centennial bus stop, and at Main and Fifth streets, Mallory said.
“We want the stations to be close to where locals live,” she said. “We want it to be convenient and easy to, without thinking twice, hop on a bike and get into town.”
City council supported the three new stations to the tune of $50,000, which includes the cost of adding a few new bikes to the system. Users can purchase season, weekly, or day passes, which allow them to take a bike from one kiosk for up to 30 minutes and drop it off at any other station in the system. The We-cycle pass costs $50 annually, and the single-day pass runs for $9.
But this summer, Aspenites can also ride for free if they sign an online pledge to use their vehicles less.
“Starting May 1, We-cycle passes will be available to the community, and if you pledge to drive less this summer, you can get a We-cycle pass for free,” Mallory said. “It would be courtesy of the Drive Less campaign, and a pass gives you unlimited 30-minutes rides anywhere in Aspen, as well as in the Basalt system.”
The new Basalt expansion will also kick off in mid-May, and includes five new stations in town, and four in the Willits-El Jebel area. Mallory said that sponsorships are still being sought for both the Aspen and Basalt systems, adding that Aspen-Snowmass Sotheby’s has come on as title sponsor for its fourth year.
“They are critical to We-cycle’s success,” she said.
Also new this year, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) zone pass will double as a We-cycle pass once signed up.
“Anyone who gets a zone pass … all they have to do is activate their We-cycle component, and they can use the same plastic card to … get on the bus and to check out a We-cycle,” Mallory said. “So it is the first integrated transit pass that we have in the Roaring Fork Valley, and we’re really excited about it.”
There are plans in the works for the program to expand to Glenwood Springs, and a feasibility study is underway.
“In order for a program in Glenwood to come to fruition, we would need the capital funds to be secured, as well as the operating funds,” Mallory said. “We’re definitely committed to a valleywide hub-and-spoke [model] … with RFTA providing the long-haul service, and We-cycle can provide a quick bike to and from the bus creating a seamless integrated transit system.”