This afternoon Boston signed the deal to bring bike-sharing to the Massachusetts Bay Area. With the goal of making a regional system, Boston will start Hubway, the name of its bike-sharing service in July with 600 bikes in 61 stations. The neighboring Cambridge, Brookline and Somerville communities are expected to join Hubway within the year and other communities to follow soon thereafter to ultimately have 5,000 bikes throughout the region with 300 stations. The system will use the Public Bike System Co. equipment, the same as in Washington, DC; Minneapolis; London; Melbourne; and Montréal. It will be operated by Alta Bicycle Share of Philadelphia which also operates the Washington, DC and Melbourne, Australia programs. The yearly subscription membership is pegged fairly high, at $85 which is $25 more a year than the comparable Nice Ride Minnesota and $10 more than Capital Bikeshare. The daily fare for casual users is the same as Minneapolis and Washington at $5.
The Boston-area athletic shoe company, New Balance, will be a major sponsor and has retained the naming rights to the system, according to a City of Boston press release. New Balance Hubway should be an interesting name for bike-sharing service considering bike balancing is a major element of every service.