Thursday, July 28, 2011

Boston on Massachusetts Bay begins Bike-sharing today with The Hubway

This morning New Balance Hubway is up and running in Boston. This brings Boston into the select group of North American cities with major bike-sharing systems. Although New Balance Hubway is planned as a regional system, it starts with a Phase I of around 600 bikes in about 60 stations in the central parts of Boston. Already the adjacent municipalities of Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline are exploring having Hubway stations, according to the Boston Globe. There is a handy user-friendly Request A Station Locator Map where anyone can suggest a station location in the region. The expansion of the system is a shoe-in with the New Balance Company as its naming sponsor.

Even with only 600 bikes, New Balance Hubway has installed a few large docking stations in the expectation of a many members. Although the system will only run spring through fall, the yearly subscription of $85 is a bit more than its sister program Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Virginia. For $10 more, you get a few months less. Both services are operated by the same company, Alta Bicycle Share, however, pricing is set by the governments for Capital Bikeshare and likely the same is true with Hubway.

In a very interesting twist on usage fees, New Balance Hubway is charging around 25% more to its 1-day and 3-day "casual" users over what it charges its annual members who keep the bike over the first 29 minutes (below).

The Bike-sharing Blog welcomes Boston and its region to the bike-sharing world.

images: The Bike-sharing Blog and The Hubway

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