Bike-Share Program Hits Cruising Speed With 102 Members

LakelandThree weeks after launching, Lakeland’s Swan City Cycles bike-sharing program has signed up 102 members and its 35 bikes have been ridden 140 times.

That puts the program ahead of schedule on its goal of signing up 1,000 members in its first year, Lakeland Downtown Development Authority Director Julie Townsend said this morning.

She gave an update on the bike-share program at a downtown update meeting sponsored by LDDA and the Downtown Lakeland Partnership.

So far, there has been no vandalism; the top problem is that some users are unfamiliar with the u-locks that are furnished with the bikes and don’t push the straight cross-bar in all the way, she said.

Seven stations were installed between Dixieland and Memorial Boulevard last month. Riders use a smartphone app to register the program and sign out bikes. Costs are $25 for an annual membership allowing unlimited rides of up to 90 minutes or $3 for a day pass.

The most popular station is the one between Munn Park and the State Office Building, with 28 percent of all rides, Townsend said. Next are the ones at The Lakeland Center/Hyatt Place, Dixieland and Florida Southern College.

Townsend is encouraging people to install the Zagster app on their phones and sign up by offering a free introductory ride; use  the promo code “SWANCITY” when signing up to get the free ride.

The program is paid largely through sponsorships by local businesses and organizations. Sponsorship costs are $9,000 for a five-bike station or $1,800 for a single bike and include the organization’s logo on bikes.

At this morning’s meeting, Platform Arts volunteer Michael Maguire urged business owners to make it easy for bike riders to patronize them by installing “really bright orange bike racks” offered for sale by Platform.

Zagster, the program’s vendor, is taking applications for a local mechanic to maintain the bikes and “rebalance” the stations every two weeks. Currently those duties are being performed by an Orlando mechanic.

The program gained at least two new members today. Townsend asked how man people signed up during her presentation, and two people raised their hands.