Bike-share service coming to Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – City officials are finalizing a contract with a New York-based bicycle sharing company that will place 400 rentable bikes close to downtown.

City Councilman Bryan Principe, who represents Ward 13, will introduce a resolution at Tuesday’s council meeting that would authorize the Elorza administration to enter into a five-year $400,000 contract with Social Bicycles, a well-known company that will oversee the “implementation, management, and operation” of the bike-share service.

The city’s Board of Contract and Supply has already approved the contract with Social Bicycles.

“Social Bicycles runs bike-share systems in cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Long Beach, Portland, Hamilton (Ontario), Cleveland, Boise, Phoenix, Tampa to name a few,” Victor Morente, a spokesperson for the city, wrote in an email. “Providence intends to launch a 400-bike system in spring 2018.”

According to a request for proposal, the city and the R.I. Public Transit Authority will use $400,000 of a $13-million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to pay for the bike-share service. Funds from the TIGER grant are also being used to remake Kennedy Plaza and improve public transportation.

The bikes will be located at 40 stations near the Downtown Transit Connector, which will run from Capital Center through downtown to the Rhode Island Hospital area. Other stations will be placed in Fox Point, College Hill and portions of the West End and Federal Hill, according to the RFP.

Social Bicycles runs bike-share programs in 31 cities throughout the world, according to the company’s website.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan