August 14th, 2009 5:33 pm | by Anvi Bui News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Portlanders Weigh In On Four Companies That Want to Bring Bike Sharing to Town


Four companies demonstrated their wares today on the waterfront in hopes of being chosen for a proposed bike sharing program in town.

The program would offer short-term bike rental through an automated system. By using a credit card, the user could rent and return a bicycle at any of the companies' docking stations throughout the city.

The City of Portland became interested in bike sharing a couple years ago but halted the idea when it discovered it couldn't guarantee the city wouldn't cover any losses if they occurred.

“The Portland economy isn't exactly flush right now,” says Steve Hoyt-McBeth, project manager for the bike sharing program at the Portland Office of Transportation. “It is incumbent for us to find outside funding for this.”

The four companies now being considered by the city are: The Bike Share Group, Bcycle, Bixi, and the Portland Bike Share.

“People here in Portland have bikes, but they might just use it for the weekend and leave it in the garage,” says Mark Hulscher, a spokesman for the Bike Share Group. “We want to have the bikes right there for them when they walk out the door so they'll choose to ride one every day.”

Today's demonstration, held under the Burnside Bridge, hoped to gauge the potential success of the program by measuring public support from Portlanders. Spokesmen from each company showed off their products and passed out surveys to visitors. Joey Arnold is a new Portland resident and highly recommends that the city adopt the program.

“It gives everyone the opportunity to do something they usually do, but with more ease," Arnold says. "I own two bikes, but it's not always easy to bring them everywhere with me.”

The Portland bike sharing demonstration will be held again this Sunday, Aug. 16 on the south side of Laurelhurst Park at Southeast 37th and Oak.

Meantime, I've got a question for already bike-happy Portland: If the city were to adopt this program, would you use it?
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