BikeShare program is money-saver for cyclists

September 14, 2009 12:24:54 PM PDT
When Kathleen Manning needed a new bicycle, she got one. And instead of costing her $400, it cost just $25, thanks to the BikeShare program in Collingswood.

"It got hit by a car and it was totaled," Manning explains about her old bicycle, which cost about $400. "So I came up here and like a week later, it was ready and I've been riding it ever since."

Collingswood Commissioner Joan Leonard started Bikeshare about a year ago.

It's based on a concept used in major cities, like Paris, but on a smaller scale. "They have hundreds of bicycles with thousands of dollars spent," she says of the big BikeShare programs in Europe. "You swipe a card and you pay by the mile for the bike that you use."

Collingswood residents pay $25 to join the program. Most of the bikes come from the police department's unclaimed property room. Others have been donated. And volunteer mechanics tune them up.

"So people go into boro hall and sign up for $25 they sign up for a year, Leonard explains. "With that $25 you can ride a bike as long as you want, all day, all year. You can switch it up and get a different bicycle, you can have your bicycle repaired, have a tune-up anytime you want."

Fern Love says BikeShare was perfect for her daughter, who will be driving in a year, but needed a way to get around over the summer.

"She's been riding it all summer to swim practice, to her friend's house. She's been so independent, it's been great," Love says.

For now, the program is only open to residents of Collingswood, but Leonard is hoping it will grow to become county-wide. And if adults join, they can get children's bicycles for their kids for free.

For more information about Collingswood's BikeShare program, click here.

Pottstown, Pa., also has a BikeShare program. For information on that program, click here.

And for information about efforts to start a larger-scale BikeShare Program in Philadelphia, click here.

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