On Monday of this week, Marcelo Ebrard a government official of Mexico City announced the December 2009 start of a “sistema de bicicletas públicas” from SmartBike of Clear Channel Outdoor México for the south western part of central Mexico City. The system will start with 1,114 bicycles in 84 stations. El Sol de México reports Ebrard stating, “the aim is to promote cycling in the city, for this mode of transport to move from 1.2 percent current use to 5 percent, especially for short distances. [It's] expected to have 24,000 members in the first year of operation [and] the bikes are an extension of public transport to be used by citizens to exit the Metro, Metrobus, or trolleybus to reach their destinations, without the use of motorized vehicles to travel a few kilometers.”
The annual suscription will cost 200 pesos (US$15) entitling the card holder, pictured here, to ½ hour of free usage. With Smartbike the Mexico City government is trying to reduce automobile congestion in the largest capital city in the world. When operational at the end of this year, it will be the second largest bike-sharing program in the Americas.
Update: August 14, 2009, Clear Channel Outdoor says the contract for the system in Mexico City allows for expansion up to 6,000 bikes in 400 stations.
Image: El Sol de MéxicoRussell Meddin http://www.bikesharephiladelphia.org/