Local staff of Southeast Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share are celebrating a huge victory this morning. New York City has formally announced that they’ve selected the company as the vendor for their massive 10,000 bike, 600 station New York City Bike Share system.
Officials estimate that bike share in New York City will lead to 27.5 million new bicycle trips every year.
New York City’s system will dwarf Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C. (also run by Alta Bicycle Share), which is currently the largest system in America with about 1,100 bicycles and 114 stations (Portland’s plan is to have about 740 bikes and 74 stations). Bike share in New York City is expected to be similar to D.C.’s system because they’ll use the same “Bixi” bikes (from Montreal) and the same vendor.
As they do for D.C.’s system, Alta will oversee New York City’s entire system, assisting in permitting, funding strategies, program management, kiosk design and location analysis, and more. As reported back in March, the NYC contract is thought to be valued at about $200 million.
Alta Bicycle Share is a spin-off of Alta Planning + Design, one of the leading bicycling and walking planning and project consultants in the country. The CEO of Alta is Mia Birk, former bicycle coordinator for the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (she’s also author of the book, “Joyride”). Alta Bicycle Share currently has 17 employees at offices throughout the country. The company runs D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, Boston’s new “Hubway” system, and Melbourne Bike Share in Australia.
The New York City contract catapults Alta Bicycle Share into the top spot of North American bike share vendors and it raises their profile leading up to forthcoming vendor decisions by cities like San Francisco and Portland. Alta Bicycle Share was one of two vendors who showed up at a recent bike share demonstration in Portland.
Similar to what Portland officials have proposed, the New York City system will not require any public subsidy; the system will be paid for entirely by private sponsorships. You can bet that the City of Portland is watching how things develop in New York City very closely as they prepare their own Request for Proposals due out in the coming weeks.
Alta is planning a celebration in the parking lot behind their Portland offices today (711 SE Grand Ave, River City Bicycles parking lot) from 12:00 to 2:00. The public is invited.
New York City Bike Share is expected to begin operations next summer. Check out the just-launched NYCityBikeShare.com for more information.