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Portland officials say bike share coming next year

PORTLAND — Portland transportation officials are moving forward with plans to launch the city's long-delayed bike rental program, which may be up and running as soon as next summer.

Officials are announcing the program, a scaled back version of the one described in 2012, on Wednesday, reported The Oregonian.

The modified proposal will include a 600-bike fleet supplied by New York company, Social Bicycles Inc. The bikes will be outfitted with computers for riders to access checkout terminals and other information, rather than in a network of bike racks.

"We're really excited to get it off the ground," said chief executive of Social Bicycles, Ryan Rzepecki. "(Portland has) one of the best cycling cultures in the U.S. It's a very savvy audience."

The Portland bike share will service the areas of Goose Hollow to inner north Portland, east to the Lloyd District and south to South Waterfront.

The city said the cost to ride will be the lowest in the country at $2.50 for 30 minutes. Riders can also purchase a $10 to $15 monthly membership, valid for up to 90 minutes of bike time a day.

Social Bicycles' smart-bike system enables riders to lock their bikes up anywhere after a trip, even outside the service area. It will just cost a couple dollars.

The city first signed a contract with Alta Bicycle Share in 2012. The program was set to start in 2013, but the city had trouble securing a sponsor to subsidize the cost of the program. And in 2014, Alta's proposed high-tech bike supplier, Bixi, went bankrupt.

Alta eventually sold its bike share business and moved to New York. The company has since rebranded itself as Motivate Co.

The launch of Portland's new partnership with Social Bicycles will cost just over $2 million, which will be paid for with federal grant money.

The Portland City Council will review the bike rental plan next week.