Monday, December 22, 2008

First South American Programs Underway

South America has launched not one, but two bike-sharing programs this month - in Rio de Janiero, Brazil and Santiago, Chile. Both programs were rushing to be the first on the continent, with respective launches on December 4th and 9th.

Rio’s system, Samba, launched with 30 bikes and three stations in Copacabana. By the end of December, the program will expand to have 80 bikes and eight stations, also in Copacabana. Each month the system will grow to a nearby neighborhood until at 15 months the program will be represented in eight neighborhoods with 500 bikes and 50 stations.

Presently, Samba is in testing with a limited group. In January 2009, the program will be opened to the general public. The first 30 minutes of use will be free for customers.

Providencia, a borough of Chile’s capital city, Santiago, launched b’easy with 100 bikes and 10 stations. The bikes are available from 7:30am to 8:30pm for up to one hour per use with a monthly subscription of $1.50 USD or a yearly subscription of $12.50 USD. Subscribers sign up either at a station or online. The system was created by Centrolniciativa, a business incubator, of the Economics Faculty of Diego Portales University. It uses locally fabricated bikes, stations, and subscription card readers. Mayor Cristián Labbé of Providencia hopes b’easy is adopted throughout the boroughs of the city.

Special thanks to Russell Meddin of Bike Share Philadelphia.

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