Sometime this month the City of Portland will unleash a major upgrade and expansion of the Biketown bike share system. And while the bikes will be the same color and the general concept of the system will remain the same, there are some key changes you should know about.
Take all the credit
In the current system users can receive a $1 credit for returning bikes to certain stations. But you can’t take it with you. PBOT wants everyone to know that your current bonus credits won’t transfer to the new system. You’ll need to use existing credits by September 8th or they’ll be gone forever.
Note that if you put funds into your account with a credit/debit card, those will transfer to your new account. Speaking of new accounts…
Along with the expansion, there will be a big update to the Biketown app that goes live as soon as the new system is launched. To ride the new bikes you’ll need to update this app (if you have automatic updates turned on in settings you’ll be all set). Another way to use the system is via the Lyft app (Lyft owns Motivate, the company that operates Biketown). You can rent Biketown bikes in the Lyft app by clicking the “bike” icon at the bottom of the app.
Note that if you don’t already have a Lyft account, you’ll have to re-register in the Biketown app before your first ride. If you have a Lyft and a Biketown account your info will sync automatically if you use the same phone number in each one.
Check the map
The new system will have 500 more bikes and will expand its geographic footprint. If your work or home or fave destination used to be out of the service area, check the new map to see if the 13 square-mile expansion now covers you.
Grab the kids
If you’ve got teens in your care, you’ll be happy to know that the minimum age has dropped from 18 to 16.
The e-bike effect
All the new bikes will have batteries on them. This is huge. E-bikes are revolutionary — just ask anyone who has ridden one. If you haven’t tried one yet, there’s nothing special you need to know. Just ride the bike like you normally would and the boost will come naturally as you pedal.
After a while you’ll realize that being able to cruise along at 15-20 mph sweat-free will transform your urban riding. The city will feel much smaller and the streets and other road users will feel much less intimidating.
The one bummer about the new system is that it will cost more. And no more free minutes! Re-read my story from July if you want to avoid the sticker shock.
If you have more questions, Biketown has a solid FAQ posted here. And stay tuned for more coverage as we boldly step into the bike share future together.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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Looking forward to trying these out!
I’m hoping the basket just looks smaller and won’t be a big deal
Looking forward to trying them. I’m surprised by the cable lock. Even though thick, so easy to snip. I guess theft risk is relatively low for several reasons, compared to private bikes that cost a similar amount. They probably have GPS tracking as well.
It’s not clear in the FAQs if annual members will have to pay the “Out of Hub” parking fee. Parking wherever you want in the service area is a huge perk of the current annual membership, so I hope that doesn’t change!
The way I read it, every member will incur a $1 fee for returning to any public bike rack instead of a hub.
Agreed. How often is someone expected to walk 1/3 mile each way to rent a bike? No one is going to incorporate that into a daily commute. And it’s still $1 each time even with the annual plan.
I saw two people riding these together on “Better Naito” a few weeks ago.
I have $276 in credits. What can I do with that in the next week so I don’t lose it all?
$126 in credits here, so … same question.
Seattle to Portland?
Y’all might want to check the range on the batt. E-bikes are dogs with no juice 😉
Lyft says if I use my credits to renew on 09/07 I will get a 1 year membership on the new system. The rest of the credits I can transfer to a friend to do the same. I am already reaching out to friends and coworkers who want to renew into the e-bike system with my credits.
Take a screenshot of your balance and download your data. Just in case.
It’s not right that we earn credits over the years by helping Biketown out only to have the balance wiped clean with barely any notice. My cycling plans over the summer would have been much different had I known in advance. Biketown never indicated that the credits were temporary.
I’ve reported over a hundred problems (conservative estimate), but there’s never been compensation for that. I have rarely been able to use 90 minutes each day either because there’s usually some obstacle with a bike (or a wait until it responds). Sometimes it even means walking 10-20 blocks to the next available bike.
All the members that have helped Biketown be viable since its roll-out are receiving a giant F*** you right now.
Lyft is not operating in good faith and people need to know this. Does Nike want the negative publicity?
If my math is right, at $0.08 cents per minute, that’s 3,450 minutes or 57 hours.
I propose a new take on the Ladds 500… The 24 Hours of Ladds. A 24 hour endurance ride to burn through everyone’s remaining Biketown credits. Teams of riders take turn sharing biketown bikes to see how many miles they can do around Ladds circle until the credits are used up.
Ahh, but don’t forget, with the current monthly or annual plans, the first 90 minutes per day are free, so you would need to ride 1.5 hours before you start ‘burning through’ those credits. And when you pass midnight, the first 90 minutes of the new day will again be free. So to burn off 57 hours worth of credits, you’d actually need to ride 57 + (3 x 1.5) = 61.5 hours. 🙂
(Fortunately, we won’t have that ‘problem’ under the new system…)
I believe you can donate the credits to Biketown For All low-income program…at least that used to be an option.
Take a screenshot of your balance and download your data. Just in case. Not letting this go.
Any word on where new docking stations will be located?
Any word on the old bikes – where they are going?
Trying to post this question for the third time since yesterday:
Does anyone know if the Biketown rack that was previously located at NW 18th and Flanders will be replaced in the vicinity? The rack that has been at that location for years was recently removed for the installation of a raised bus platform. I sent an email to Lyft inquiring about this and the response was less than helpful as they thought I was asking where I could return a bike.
Yes it is going back very close to the old location.
I think it’s a bit disingenuous of Biketown that they are still advertising and selling monthly and annual subscriptions under the existing terms (90 free minutes a day, etc.).
I have decided to at least give the bikes a try before I ask for a refund on my annual subscription, though I don’t see it being worth it for the way I use the bikes currently.
Everything about Biketown is disingenuous. Long-time member here. You cannot trust the company (Lyft/Motivate). It IS a business and operates like one.
I wonder if Adaptive Biketown that is run by Kerr bike rentals are planning on running all year, or if they are going to shut down in October again? Disabled people are always an after thought with bike share programs and don’t even get me started on the scooters!
Is adaptive Biketown going all year or are they going to shut down in October again? Disabled people always seem to be an afterthought to bike share companies. Disabled people deserve equality. TriMet won’t allow me to transport my trike on the max train even though it is considered an OPDMD (Other personal drive mobility device) under the definition of the ADA.gov website and my trike fits in the allotted space of a wheelchair spot (30″×60″) and it fits on the bike hook of the max.