The blue bikes seemed to appear overnight, scattered around the central core of Eugene.
But Lindsey Hayward, general manager of PeaceHealth Rides, a new local bike share system, says plans to bring the program to town were years in the making.
The idea came from the University of Oregon, she says. Soon LTD and the city of Eugene were on board, and eventually PeaceHealth signed on as the title sponsor.
“Eugene is really built for bike share,” she says, and the program has been wildly successful, with ridership outpacing expectations.
Hayward says bike sharing effectively connects campus to downtown, as well as helping to alleviate parking issues in the Whiteaker Neighborhood.
Ridesharing service Uber recently bought Jump Bikes, the hardware and software provider for the service. Hayward says one day, riders could be able to find a driver or a bike all in the same app.
For the PeaceHealth bikes, riders sign up online. $5 a month gets 60 minutes a day for anyone with a UO email address. $15 a month gets an hour a day for non-UO affiliated riders.
“This is just phase one,” Hayward says, adding there’s talk of expanding the service north of the river and to Springfield. A recent press release from PeaceHealth says that the program has 3,747 active members who have taken 20,701 trips, logging a total of 27,726 miles.
Hubs can be found and bikes reserved via an app downloadable to any mobile device. However, with a passcode and personal identification number, bikes that aren’t already reserved can always be checked out on the spot.
Any rack, post or pole within the service zone works to lock the bikes up, and bikes can be put on hold, perfect for errands like running to the grocery store. Hold time counts toward allotted daily time, but otherwise, the clock only ticks while actively riding.
PeaceHealth bicycles have eight gears, a basket, and a bell and are much lighter and easier to ride than their deceivingly solid metal frame might indicate.
For an extra fee, bikes can be ridden and left outside of the service zone. $1 in riding credit is rewarded as a “bounty” to anyone using the app to locate bikes beyond the zone and returning them to a hub.
While ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, green lit by the city, are expected to arrive at any time, summer in Eugene is perfect for participating in a different kind of ride sharing service, what Hayward calls “an active transportation system.”
So whether for fun or business, it’s never been easier to take two wheels instead of four.
Go to peacehealthrides.com for more info.