Bike share program rolls out in South Bend
SOUTH BEND —
It's not unusual to see them in big cities, but now a program years in the making is finally rolling into South Bend.
The mayor says a new bike sharing program won't cost taxpayers a thing.
It's the reason Mayor Pete Buttigieg says yes to Limebikes. Now, South Bend is home to the country's largest fleet of shared bikes that can be stored nearly anywhere in public.
Now cycling is the sound of sharing. This week bright green, swappable bicycles will share South Bend streets.
“You pay to use the bike, and that covers the cost of the bike,” said Buttigieg.
It's a system that's as easy as, click, check out and get spinning. Limebike lets users check out bikes via an app, pay to pedal at the rate of $1per half hour, and lock the back wheel to end the ride.
The low cost without taxpayer dollars is what got the mayor on board.
“There are a lot of people in our community, a lot of low-income people, who don't have access to a car, and if you don't own a car then that shouldn't be a barrier to getting around,” Buttigieg said.
South Bend is now the 3rd U.S. city to debut LimeBike, a system that has zero stations for cycles, which developers say helps cut down on cost.
"And folks can choose the bike that is closest to them with a smartphone, grab a bike and go. So bike parking is required to be in a legal parking spot. A legal parking spot is a public bike rack, is a spot that is in the public right away that is outside of pedestrian travel,” said LimeBike Strategic Development Vice President Andrew Savage.
Some people went for a test spin of the bikes that will officially roll out Tuesday with about 200 bikes.
Buttigieg says it flows with South Bend's spirit of trying new things, which leads to job creation.
LimeBike is staffing half a dozen people locally.
“We see a lot of job creation through that willingness to be frankly a bit of a Guinea pig for new ideas, good ideas to see if they can benefit our community,” said Buttigieg.
So if you see the green wheels around town, use them to get going.
"So people can take bikes as their primarily method of transportation,” Savage said.
The bikes will be available to ride for free through Sunday.