Transportation change is coming to Everett this month, and it’s lime green.
The City announced this week that LimeBike – a dock-less bike rental company – has worked out an agreement to place 300 bicycles in Everett for rent starting around Memorial Day. The bicycles are part of a regional planning effort by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to implement a cohesive bike rental system in the region. LimeBike is noticeable due to its lime-green colored bikes.
“It’s only a matter of signing the paperwork and getting them under contract,” said Jay Monty, transportation planner for Everett. “They will be placing 300 bikes around Everett some time around Memorial Day or early June.”
Already, Malden has deployed 300 LimeBikes, and Chelsea and Revere are believed to be coming on soon.
The agreement costs nothing to the City, and residents will be able to use a smart phone app to rent the bikes for $1 an hour using a credit card tied to their LimeBike account. The bikes are not tethered to any station, which Monty said presents positives and negatives.
Other systems, such as Hubway – which is used in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline, use stations that require riders to return the bike to an existing station. They also require cities to pay up-front for the docking equipment.
For dock-less providers, there is no equipment and riders are instructed to leave the bikes in a responsible place. However, at the end of the day, it’s up to LimeBike to make sure the unused bikes are not left in unacceptable places.
“The upside to this is for cities and towns Hubway is very expensive for them to purchase the equipment,” he said. “There will be 300 bikes in Everett and they’ll have to rebalance them every day. We’ve planned where we want LimeBike to corral the bikes at the end of the day. You might see 10 of them in Everett Square, some at the high school and down at the Batch Yard…The downside is they can end up on the curb or blocking a sidewalk or blocking a doorway. They’ll be on the hook to manage that.”
The bikes are all tracked with a GPS system, and the company can locate any bikes that get off the grid and need to be brought back to the appropriate space.
Even with the commitment to LimeBike, Monty said that doesn’t mean that Everett won’t still pursue a Hubway system – which it is doing at the moment.
“We are also pursuing Hubway and next year we’ll putting docking equipment out there,” he said.
He said Everett is being allowed to use both systems, unlike other places, and he thinks that the more options there are, the better.
“I think the two will complement each other well,” he said. “We’ll be able to have docking equipment on the main corridors and Broadway for those looking to get into Boston or Cambridge. There will also be a lot of people who will want to go to Chelsea, Malden and Revere and they will be able to use LimeBike.”
The City has been working with LimeBike and Inspectional Services to make sure that the new biking system is implemented appropriately.
Last year, both Chelsea and Revere implemented a similar bike rental agreement as a pilot with a company. That proved to be quite a problem for Everett, who often found the company’s yellow bikes stranded on their streets.