Following the lead of Washington D.C. and European capitals such as Paris and Amsterdam, Boston last week launched a $6-million pilot bicycle sharing project dubbed "Hubway." As reported by the Associated Press and the Boston Globe, Mayor Thomas Menino signed a $6 million, three-year contract with a bicycle rental company called Alta Bicycle Share to launch and run the Hubway program.
The Hubway plan calls for an initial 600 bikes at 61 kiosks around the city. But the master plan for the project calls for ultimately operating 5,000 bicycles at 300 kiosks. The program is being supported by corporate sponsorships, federal grant money and individual donations. Bikers, who join as "members" will be able to borrow and return bicycles at any kiosks at prices ranging from $5 per day to $85 per year.
Not everyone is positive on the idea. Initial comments from readers of the report in the Boston Globe range from support of Hubway as an auto and gas reduction program, to criticism of a plan in which bicycle-pedestrian and bicycle-car accounts are likely to raise lawsuits against individuals and the city, as well as major insurance questions. Some are predicting the program won't last, and others say it will thrive. More information on the announcement is found here.