Phoenix Bike Share to Launch in Early 2014

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Phoenix's bike share program now has a name: Grid Bikes (styled Gr:D). The bright green bikes are emblazoned with a smiley face and instructions to "Ride Happy!"

Mayor Greg Stanton unveiled the name and logo last Monday at the National Association of City Transportation Officials Phoenix conference at Hotel Palomar.

See also: Phoenix to Launch Bike Share Program in December

"If our region is going to compete globally, we need Grid to help attract those high-wage employers and bright, educated young workers who want livable cities and multiple transit options," Stanton says via press release.

Social Bicycles designed the bikes, Eeko Studio is behind the branding concept, and Miami-based CycleHop was contracted to establish and operate the bike share network here in the Valley.

Rollout of the program is still on schedule to begin before the end of the year, with plans to have 500 bikes in the downtown Phoenix area by early 2014. CycleHop has pledged to expand the share into Tempe and Mesa, with 250 bikes each, by spring 2014.

The bike share, which got its name from Phoenix's well-known grid system that serves to connect the Valley, will have bicycles available to rent by the hour. Monthly and annual memberships will also be available.

Rates will range from $5 an hour, $30 per month, or $79 annually, with a discounted rate of $59 a year for students. Users will be able return their rented bike and lock it up at any rack, instead of having to return the rental to a specific hub. Using the GPS component on the bikes, CycleHop operators will pick up all bikes not checked into a hub. If you do return your bike to a designated hub, then you'll earn a time credit toward your membership.

You'll be able to locate and reserve bikes online, with Social Bicycles' free mobile app, SOBI. You can download it to your phone or access the app through your web browser, although Phoenix's bike share is not an option to select just yet. Users will also be able to make reservations directly on the bike's keypad interface. The bikes will be equipped with a solar-powered, GPS-enabled locking mechanism and be remotely monitored by CycleHop.

The City of Phoenix is not funding the program. Instead, Grid Bikes is funded and operated by CycleHop, which is currently looking for sponsors.

The city is working with Grid Bikes on locations for the bike hubs, and hub station locations are still being finalized. Grid Bikes is asking for input from the community, so if you have a suggestion of where a station should go, visit their website and submit it.

For more information, visit their the Grid Bikes website or Facebook page. You can also sign up to receive updates and information on the bike launch and events.

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