Government

Cedar Rapids shifts gears on bike share

Now seeks one vendor to equip and run the program

New public bicycles are seen at the Coralville Transit Intermodal Facility in Coralville on Monday, June 11, 2018. Three new bicycles will be available to rent by anyone with a smart phone for three dollars per hour as part of the city's new bike share program. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
New public bicycles are seen at the Coralville Transit Intermodal Facility in Coralville on Monday, June 11, 2018. Three new bicycles will be available to rent by anyone with a smart phone for three dollars per hour as part of the city's new bike share program. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Four vendors vying to be involved in a bike share project in Cedar Rapids have been passed over, but officials remain confident a bike share could be running by spring.

Cedar Rapids officials had bifurcated the project so that providing the equipment would be a separate contract from operating the program.

Last week, the City Council opted not to approve a contract with any of the companies seeking to provide the equipment. Instead, adopting a new recommendation from staff, the council plans to solicit bids under a revised scope of work that includes both the equipment for and operation of the bike share under just one contract.

“The bike share market place is changing relatively quickly and as a result, city staff became aware of a new business model that wasn’t factored into the scope of the original” request for proposals, said Bill Micheel, assistant director of the community development department.

The new model gives more operational and marketing responsibility to the vendor while significantly decreasing risk to the city — while still creating opportunities for local businesses to participate and allowing the city to maintain control over the system, Micheel said.

Responses to the new request for proposals are due Nov. 14, and the city still is targeting Bike to Work Week — the week of May 13 — for the launch, he said.

The city had estimated it would cost $570,000 for an equipment contract, although some of that money would be offset by advertising, officials said. Rejected bids included $452,900 from Gotcha of Charleston, S.C., contingent upon also being selected as the vendor to operate system; $870,735 from BCycle of Waterloo, Wis., and nonresponsive bids from Zagster Inc. of Boston, Mass., and CycleHop of Miami Beach, Fla.

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The bike share plan calls for 200 bikes and 20 unstaffed stations where those bikes could be rented and dropped off.

Check out would entail using a credit card at a kiosk or an online smartphone app. Bike stations would be placed in the downtown core, in Czech Village, Kingston Village, the CoE-MedQuarter area, the New Bohemia District and “places in between,” Micheel had said. The goal is to have a bike station every quarter mile, he said.

The bikes would be equipped with GPS, front and rear lights and reflectors, a basket for carrying up to 20 pounds, a bell, a one-size-fits-most frame, three-speed gearing and a locking system, among other features.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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