Bike share program in Cobb County begins with strong start: Town Center CID

By David Pendered

A bike share program is off to a strong start in the Kennesaw area, according to its sponsor, the Town Center Community Improvement District.

Bike share, zagster bike

Almost 800 individuals have enrolled over the past two months in a new bike share program sponsored by the Town Center CID. Credit: Town Center CID

Almost 800 persons have enrolled in the program since service began on Nov. 20, 2015. Riders have taken more than 1,500 trips. That represents more than 160 trips a week, according to the January newsletter of the Town Center CID.

“Interestingly, almost 50 percent of riders are repeat, indicating that those adventuresome types that give it a try enjoy it enough to come back,” states the newsletter released Jan. 21 by Tracy Rathbone, executive director of the Town Center CID.

Town Center’s bike share program is said by the vendor to be the first one in Georgia to be opened by a CID. CIDs are places with defined borders where owners of commercial property agree to pay a higher property tax rate. This extra tax increment is used to pay for community improvements, such as streetscapes in Buckhead and security forces in Midtown and Downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta had planned to have a bike share program functioning by the close of 2015. The Atlanta City Council voted in February 2014 to authorize a contract with a vendor proposed by Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration. Delays have resulted in a new target opening date of sometime this summer. That’s according to an interview with Atlanta Planning Commissioner Tim Keane, as reported Dec. 7, 2015 in atlantamagazine.com.

Bike share, Mason Zimmerman

Mason Zimmerman, chairman of Town Center CID, straddled a Zagster bike on the opening day of the bike share program. Credit: Town Center CID

The pricing program in the Town Center area provides that trips under one hour are free.

Each hour after the first one is billed at a rate of $3 an hour. The maximum fee is $24, according to a description of the program posted by the operating partner, Massachusetts-based Zagster.

The bike share program is open to everyone older than 18 years who can provide a valid credit or debit card.

Zagster outlines the four-step procedure for using the bike share program:

  1. BORROW. Enter your bike’s number into the app and tap ‘START RIDE.’ You’ll get a code to open and close the lockbox.
  2. UNLOCK. Use the key from inside the lockbox to operate the U-lock that attaches the bike to its station. Close the lockbox before you ride.
  3. RIDE. Have fun and stay safe! Use the U-lock to keep the bike secure if you make stops along the way. Your lockbox code will continue to work during your ride.
  4. RETURN. When you’re done, lock the bike back to a Town Center Zagster station and close the lockbox. Then go to the app and tap ‘END RIDE.’”

    Bike share, DiMassimo, Rathbone

    On the opening day of the bike sharing program, Faye DiMassimo, director of Cobb’s DOT (left) and Tracy Rathbone, executive director of the Town Center CID, prepare to test the Zagster bicycles. Credit: Town Center CID

The bike can go anywhere, provided that it is returned to a Zagster station and locked into place. The website doesn’t say anything about the number of hours that a bike can be checked out. But it clearly contemplates that riders will return bikes within 24 hours. The website states:

  • “We LOVE that you like riding Zagster, but this is a bike sharing program for everyone. Please leave bikes where everyone can access them.”

Helmets are not required but are highly recommended. Cyclists who don’t have a helmet can purchase one from bernunlimited.com at a price discounted with a voucher code Zagster provides.

There are three bike share stations. The centrally located station is on the northern border of Town Center at Cobb. The eastern station is located east of I-575, along Bells Ferry Road. The western station is located west of I-75, along Barrett Lakes Boulevard.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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