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  • Bike share is back for summer

    by Lauren Dickey | Apr 30,2018


    By John Spina Jackson Hole Daily

    START and Friends of Pathways announced Thursday that the Jackson Bike Share Program will reopen for the summer Tuesday.

    To kick off the season, a group of riders and local officials will meet in Town Square at noon Tuesday to listen to a brief set of remarks and enjoy a short ride on the new state-of-the-art Trek bikes.

    “This bike-share program will provide an additional healthy and environmentally sensitive way for residents, commuters and visitors to move in and around our town,” Mayor Pete Muldoon said. “These shared bicycles will improve connectivity while reducing traffic congestion.”

    As part of a pilot program last year that used 18 bikes at 12 hubs, the program accumulated 250 members who took more than 4,000 rides from July 21 to Sept 22.

    With a fleet of 55 brand-new bikes and the potential for 17 hubs this summer, Friends of Pathways and START hope to see a drastic increase in ridership.

    “Bike Share is a low-cost way to provide more mobility while improving the quality of life in Jackson,” said Katherine Dowson, executive director of Friends of Pathways. “Our community is ideal for cycling, and more people are choosing to bike to their destination. We’re excited to give more people access to bikes for errands, going out to dinner and other short trips in town.”

    Starting Tuesday, riders can purchase a membership online or using the BCycle app, where they will also be able to access trip history and ride data. Riders can check out bikes directly from the BCycle mobile app, using a START Bike membership card or a user ID and PIN.

    An annual pass, which allows unlimited 30-minute rides with a fee of $1.50 for each additional 15 minutes, is available for $50. A Founder’s Pass, which includes unlimited 60-minute rides and allows riders to leave their bikes outside of the hubs with no fee, is available for $90, though a limited number are available.

    A single-day pass, which allows unlimited 30-minute rides with a fee of $1.50 for each additional 15 minutes, costs $8.

    A three-day pass with the same allowances is available for $20.

    Information, including an interactive map showing how many bikes are at each hub, can be found at

  • Bike share trial effort is deemed a success

    by Lauren Dickey | Sep 26,2017
    START Bikes on Town Square

     With summer officially over so too is the initial trial run for the START Bike Share program. Despite some hiccups early on stakeholders were pleased with the equipment and overall usage. “The number of people using the START Bike system shows that it is a great option to get around in Jackson during the busiest hours of the summer,” said Scott Horn, START board chairman. “We’re excited to be a part of making summer travel more convenient and to be providing commuters with more options to complement our town and commuter bus services.”

    Only 20 bikes were in use during the trial program, which began in April for selected users, opened to the public on July 21 and closed Sept. 22. Two hundred and seventy-one accounts were opened and bikes were checked out more than 4,000 times, though some of the checkouts were used solely for testing the equipment and gathering data.

    Seventy-five percent of the memberships were sold to people with nonlocal ZIP codes, while riders with local ZIPs took 60 percent of the trips logged. According to START, that pattern is in line with other cities, where bike shares serve as essential services for locals while also providing short-term transportation for visitors.

    “This winter, START will hit 1 million riders during 2017. START Bike is a cost-efficient program that can encourage more people to use public transportation. We’re excited to see how that can help us meet our goal of increasing overall ridership,” said Darren Brugmann, START director. “We are grateful to everyone who took part in the demo program and provided feedback to make our full bike share program a success.”

    “It is a healthy, sustainable and affordable form of public transportation,” said Jack Koehler, program director at Friends of Pathways. BCycle, a subsidiary of Trek Bicycles, chose Jackson as the first community to test its new app and bicycle called the Dash, a smart bike with all the brains built into the bike rather than the docking station. Users during the pilot program helped work out the kinks in the new technology.

    Each bike has a cellular modem that communicates with the server. During the pilot program, administrators told the bikes to communicate more than normal to collect as much data as possible. The extra data collection did use more power than anticipated, but Koehler said, “I’ll be talking with them to make sure this bug was fixed and the permanent system will be self-sustaining.”

    A permanent system, funded by Energy Conservation Works and the Teton Conservation District, will hit the road April 9 with 55 bicycles. During the trial period passes were sold at a reduced rate of $5. Once a permanent system is in place this spring a one-day pass that allows for 30 minutes of rental time will cost $8, a three-day pass allowing for 30-minute rentals each day will cost $20, a season pass allowing for 60 minutes each day will cost $50, and a founder’s pass, which allows for 90 minutes each day, will cost $90.

  • Bike share program gets money it needs

    by Lauren Dickey | Sep 07,2016
    START Bike North of Town
    By John Spina | September 7, 2016

    The Jackson bike share program became fully funded Tuesday night. During its semimonthly meeting the Town Council unanimously agreed to provide $22,558 to help fund the project’s operational budget for the first year. Friends of Pathways also contributed $18,000.

    The program will kick off in April and run through the end of June. After a truncated first year the program is expected to expand in 2018 and runfor the entire summer.

    “We needed the money to pull the trigger and begin operations next spring,” Katherine Dowson, executive director of Friends of Pathways, told the News&Guide. “We want to thank the Town Council, county commissioners and mayor for their incredible leadership. Bike share could have big impacts for Jackson in terms of traffic congestion.”

    Friends of Pathways and START estimated that a full year’s operational budget will be $60,000. Depending on the popularity of the program, they expect half of the $60,000 to be funded by user fees.

    “Different systems we’ve talked to in Idaho and Colorado were very conservative in their first year,” Darren Brugmann, director of START, told the Town Council on Tuesday. “But they all told us these bike share programs are very popular, and they are now looking to increase the number of bikes.”

    During the bike share’s pilot program, which ran from July 15 to Aug. 5, 2015, the program proved to be a viable option for sustainable transportation throughout town. According to data collected by Shared Mobility Inc., during the 21- day trial period 382 people registered to participate and logged 821 trips. Traveling a total of 2,119 miles, riders eliminated 2,431 pounds of carbon emissions from the air and saved $1,599 in gas.

    Brugmann also noted that the Federal Transit Authority is considering making grants available for towns operating bike share programs. If money does become available START officials said they could supplement the operations budget without aid from the town and county.

    Funds to purchase the bikes and bike racks, maintain the equipment and pay service fees for the bike share’s data collection program were covered in START’s annual budget allocation from the town.

    “Obviously we want to make sure we have operational funding for this,” Brugmann said. “On the capital side we’re ready to go ahead and purchase the bicycles so we can have the bikes for an abbreviated season this spring.” In addition to securing the last piece of funding, the Town Council agreed to a memorandum of understanding between START and Friends of Pathways that officially created a working partnership.

    “The partnership is a way for us to share information,” said Jack Koehler, program director of Friends of Pathways. “START will be great at running the program. We’re here to share our expertise about bike sharing and get the system up and running.” Once the bike share program has successfully operated for a year, START said it will look to hire a third-party operator to run the program and ensure bikes are properly maintained.

    “It’s an exciting time for bike share programs,” Koehler said. “There are more and more options open to us [for service providers and operations managers], which should add some downward cross pressure."

  • Bike share demo gets positive response

    by Lauren Dickey | Aug 06,2015
    Bike Share 2015
    By Emma Breysse Jackson Hole Daily | Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2015 4:30 am

    A bikeshare demonstration program that ended Tuesday was supported by cycling citizens, Friends of Pathways announced Wednesday. During the experiment, from July 15 to Aug. 5, 350 people used the 25 bikes that were available at the Home Ranch parking lot, Pearl Street Bagels, Albertsons, at Snow King and other places.
    According to Friends of Pathways, riders logged 1,983 miles around town on 816 trips. Pathwaysestimated the program saved $1,517 worth of gas and cut carbon emissions by 2,307 pounds. “While data is still being collected, initial results indicate participants found Bike Share simple, fast and convenient, utilizing the bikes to take short trips all around town to run errands, commute to work and avoid parking downtown,” according to Pathways.

    Friends of Pathways ran the demonstration to determine whether Jackson residents would use a bike share if they had the opportunity. The program involved downloading a bikeshare app and going to one of the bikeshare hubs.

    The demo program was free, but there would be a charge if bike sharing becomes a permanent option in Jackson. The announcement Wednesday also asked people, whether they used the bike share demonstration or not, to complete a short survey giving their opinions about a bikeshare program.

    The survey was included in the announcement, but is not available on the Friends of Pathways website. Survey takers were asked a series of questions, including one about costs. “If Jackson had a permanent bikeshare system during the warmer months that allowed rides for $7 for 24 hours, $18 for three days and $65 for a year, would you join?” Pathways asked.

    The bikeshare demonstration was launched after a 2011 survey identified bike sharing as likely to be accepted by the public as part of efforts to encourage bike riding in Jackson.
    Since then the town and Friends of Pathways have improved bike lanes, added signs to bike routes and improved access to START buses. Jackson and Teton County officials have promoted bikes as a way to cut local traffic congestion
  • Bike share trial draws favorable reviews

    by Lauren Dickey | Jul 29,2015
    Bike Share

    By Michael Polhamus | Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015 4:30 am
    Now two weeks old, a bike share public transportation program has users saying they like  both the convenience and the bikes.

    Through the efforts of a couple of Jackson Hole nonprofits the bikes will be in town for another week as part of a trial. The 25 shared bicycles are on hand for the public to use until Aug. 5.

    Brian Carew said he was hooked after the first ride. “One of my friends works with Friends of Pathways, so she came into the bank where I work handing out fliers, and she told me about it and signed me up,” the Jackson resident said. “I talked to her about it, and have been using it ever since.

    “It’s fairly simple and easy to use,” Carew said. “It’s a great thing to have around town — very convenient.”

    That convenience is in part a function of the bikes’ locations, he said. “I typically walk, so if I need one, I grab it,” Carew said. “They’re all up and down Pearl Street, by the rec center, at Albertsons. They’re in locations where I do stumble across them.

    “I don’t have a bike myself, so having them at random points is very nice for me,” he said. Signing up to use the bikes wasn’t much trouble, he said. “Right now they’re doing a free trial ... so you have to give a credit card, but it’s not charged,” he said. “You give your credit  card and sign up. They send you a six digit user name, and you create a four digit PIN. Then you can walk up to any of the bikes around town, type in your info, and you’re
    good to go.”

    Another rider said he was able to try out a bike without even signing up and found the experience agreeable. Kevin Keane said he recently met a friend who had just returned from riding one of the bikeshare bikes. She let him take it out on an errand.

    “I ride quite a bit,” he said. “I actually thought it was a fun ride. It’s pretty close to a townie. It
    weighs a lot ... but it rode totally fine.” Keane said he plans to use the service in the future.
    “I haven’t signed up for it, but I will based on my experience last week,” he said.

    Friends of Pathways, with the LOR Foundation, brought the bikes to Jackson on July 15 to  see whether enough people would use them to justify a permanent bike share system. If instituted permanently the bike share program would let riders use the bikes for half an hour for free. A rider’s credit card will be charged for time beyond that half hour until the bike is returned.

    The bikes can be found at the Home Ranch building, at Pearl Street Bagels, at the base of Snow King and next to Albertsons, among other places in town.
  • Bike share experiment coming to Jackson next month

    by Lauren Dickey | Jun 15,2015
    Bike Share Demo 2015
    By Michael Polhamus Jackson Hole Daily | Posted: Monday, June 15, 2015 4:30 am

    A bike share demonstration will arrive in Jackson this summer to determine if such a program should be permanent. Bike share projects typically consist of shor tterm
    bicycle rentals in which users can grab a bike at one place and leave it at another. Such programs have operated for years in Seattle, New York Cityand Washington, D.C.

    A $25,000 grant before the State Lands and Investments Board this week is expected to fund the threeweek demonstration, although Friends of Pathways representatives said the experiment won’t depend on state funding. The county has long been interested in a bike share system. “This isn’t a bike thing, this is a transportation thing,” said Jack Koehler, Friends of Pathways program director.

    County officials hope the concept will be funded with a $25,000 grant that the state investment board will vote on Thursday. The demonstration will take place between July 15 and Aug. 5. Friends of Pathways will pay for the demonstration if the grant is not approved, Koehler said. “It’s the size of project that we can help move forward, so that’s a good thing for us to do,” he said.

    The bicycles will complement the START bus system, Koehler said, by giving bus riders a way tocover the first and last miles of their trips. For example, a hospital employee who l ives in TetonValley can use a bike share bicycle to get around town without a car, Koehler  said. The trial will consist of 25 to 35 bicycles deployed primarily at Home Ranch parking lot in Jackson, with hubs elsewhere around town, he said.

    Users will be surveyed to help officials as they consider starting a permanent bike share, Koehler said. A bike share program is recommended in the county’s draft integrated transportation plan, and a 2011 study indicated that it could succeed in Teton County.
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