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Bike share program the ‘B’ will change how people get around Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. — Well, not so fast. But we are getting closer.

Today City Hall announced that the bike share program will be called ‘The B’ — which works because all the hubs will be called hives and even Beyonce approves of this new branding. The bike share program features equipment by Bewegen Technologies, which entails 220 bikes with 20-22 docking stations.

Mayor Jones introduces The B.

Mayor Jones introduces The B. PHOTO: Bike Walk RVA

To break it down from the beginning, Richmond is getting a public system of bikes and stations where the bikes may be quickly checked in/out with the swipe of a card or a smart phone.

Think of it as bike transit, often used for short trips, usually “utility trips” like errands, meetings, or even commuting. Bike Share is pretty great for people traveling to the Richmond, and for people who want to take quick trips and don’t’ have a bike. Or for those who decide, wow, it’s a nice day out and I want to bike to Carytown on my lunch break.

Or, as the city says, think of it as YOUBER.

NOTE! Our bikes will be yellow! This is an example of a docking station and bikes from other Bewegen bike share systems.

NOTE! Our bikes will be yellow! This is an example of a docking station and bikes from other Bewegen bike share systems.

We don’t have any clearcut launch date for phase one, only “late summer 2016” but phase one comes before phase two — which will launch in 2017. Phase two hopes to double the amount of bikes AND hives. Which means reaching some areas not included in the first round, like Shockoe, Church Hill, Union Hill, parts of north side including VUU and Manchester.

Here is the proposed first found of locations, in a static image, but scroll to the bottom for the fun, clickable map (hey, it is for some of us).

These are the proposed locations. They have to be approved still!

These are the proposed locations. They have to be approved still!

The proposed spots will be presented on Thursday, June 9. None of it has been completely approved by City Council, but they get the plan on Monday, June 13 and have to approve the fee structure.

The mayor reminded folk Wednesday that this is one of the “55 initiatives in the RVAgreen Sustainability Plan and is a recommendation of the City’s Strategic Multi-Modal Transportation Plan and Bike Master Plan.”

A look at Phase Two of The B.

A look at Phase Two of The B.

The City received grant funding from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program for both capital costs and the first year of operational costs. The City was required to provide a 20% match for the first phase of the system launch ($280,000). As a result, the first phase is currently funded at $1.34 million total.

There is $1.9 million funded by CMAQ for the second phase of the project.

While we are talking money, there will be a fee to use it, although the first 45 minutes are FREE DOLLARS, as in no money. There are four paid options: an annual membership, a one-month membership, a 7-day pass and a 1-day pass.

The city said that a per-trip breakdown compares favorably to parking meter fees and compares favorably to individual bus fares and monthly bus passes.

Here is a list of fees, from the city.

Proposed fee system for bike share

Proposed fee system for bike share.

Here are the proposed locations (Click HERE to enlarge)