February 16th at 8:00 AM, Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of Mexico City will launch "The System of Individual Transportation," Ecobici, the largest year-round bike-sharing system in North America, with over 1,100 bikes and 82 stations. The Federal District of Mexico City will hold the coveted title of the largest system in the western hemisphere until Montréal wakes up from its winter hibernation in May.
Still 1,100 bikes is nothing to snooze at! The Bike-sharing Blog first reported the announcement of this program on August 6, 2009: Viva Cuidad de México. In six months this Clear Channel-operated system was planned and installed. The system is starting in four districts of the capital with plans to expand to the rest of the city with a total of 6,000 bikes. According to Cuidadanosenred, Jorge Borobia, director of Clear Channel Mexico, said that depending on the operation of this first stage, it will be analyzed, before extending the service to other areas of the city. As with other Clear Channel SmartBike systems, yearly subscription registration for a system RFID card, shown below, must be bought online or at the Ecobici office.
The yearly cost is $300 MXN (about $23 USD). The first 30 minutes of a rental has no charge, the next 30 minutes costs $10 MXN (80¢ US), and after that it costs $35 MXN ($2.70 US) an hour, as reported in merca20. With this pricing, Ecobici hopes to quickly garner 24,000 subscribers. The bikes will be distributed at the “cicloestacionamientos” by small environmentally friendly trucks with trailers.
Watch this introductory video (in Spanish).