ANN ARBOR - After a brief hiatus, ArborBike will be returning to the city streets under new management.
Chicago-based mobility operator Shift Transit has taken over the program and plans to relaunch in Ann Arbor in June. It runs successful bike shares in Detroit, Toronto, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Tucson, Arizona. It also operates car share programs in Chicago and Austin, Texas.
"The program was here and it’s coming back," said marketing director Heili Toome. "We were awarded the contract in October, so we’re working closely with TheRide to get back on the street. With us being professional operators, we very much look at the operations, making sure there’s availability of bikes. With a dock-based bike share system, it’s reliable."
Toome said that consistency is what sets ArborBike apart from scooter share programs in town. "I can’t always know that I’m going to walk of my house and say, 'OK, my first leg of my commute is going to be by a scooter because I’m not sure where those are going to be. But I do know where the bike is,'" she said.
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In 2016, Shift Transit launched Detroit's first bike share program MoGo, which is overseen by the company's regional general manager Omari Colen.
"We launched in Detroit in May of 2017 and we're going into our third peak season right now," said Colen. "It's been extremely successful. The model for Detroit will probably be totally different from the model in Ann Arbor. The Detroit program is expanding into the suburbs this year, so it will be in northwest Detroit, Oak Park, Ferndale, Royal Oak, Berkley and Huntington Woods."
Colen will also be overseeing the Ann Arbor operation with hopes that its initial 14 stations will expand outside of the downtown area.
"Currently, half of the stations are on University of Michigan's campus and the other half will be in Ann Arbor proper," he said. "We are optimistic about program success and growth. Time will tell if expansion will be in the future plans."
How it works
ArborBike offers daily, monthly and annual passes that feature unlimited 30 minute rides for the duration of your active membership or pass. Once you surpass the half-hour mark, a fee is incurred. This short term use model is what allows for bikes to be available 24/7, according to Toome and Colen.
- Daily pass: $8
- Monthly pass: $18
- Annual pass: $80
Daily passes can be purchased through the app or at the kiosk. Monthly and annual passes can be purchased through the app or online. "It’s really a sweet deal if you break it down," said Colen.
"Our hope is to have members as well as casual riders, whether using it as a commuting act of transportation or for fun," said Toome. "We want to become a part of the Ann Arbor DNA."
For more information, visit www.arborbike.net.
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