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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