Bike-share for Philadelphians is finally arriving. Late to the game compared to D.C., Boston and the many other cities that have launched bike-share programs in the last five years, the city is slated to implement a fleet of 600 blue-and-white bikes this spring, and will hopefully learn from the mistakes of its predecessors.
As for funding — an ongoing issue for bike-share programs — Independence Blue Cross will serve as title sponsor for the cutely named Indego, contributing $1.7 million annually for the next five years. This is in addition to the city’s $3 million capital investment and $4.5 million in state, local and foundation funding. Starting the program with such financial support will hopefully give Indego a solid shot at economic sustainability. (In New York City’s original bike-share sponsorship deal, Citibank put up $41 million for what is the country’s largest system.)
Indego’s initial 60 stations will span from South Philadelphia (Tasker Street) to Temple University’s main campus on the northern boundary, and cover 45 blocks east to west. Though this stretches the system beyond what’s commonly considered to be Center City, the launch leaves out many outer low-income neighborhoods and areas where public transit isn’t as robust. The city said it plans to double the number of stations moving forward.
“Indego will be a tremendous addition to our thriving city,” said Mayor Michael Nutter in a statement. “It will provide a low-cost, convenient, accessible and healthy transportation option for Philadelphians, commuters and visitors alike.”
Final pricing and location map will be released closer to the program launch.
Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.