Enhancing Downtown Orlando
One of the most important benefits of urban life is convenience — the ability to live, work and play in one place, and get from point A to B easily and efficiently. Unlike a rural or suburban space, downtown residents and commuters have a plethora of transportation options, including cars, taxis, public transportation, and increasingly more – bikes.
Across the country, a new trend is emerging: bike share programs, which provide bikes at various self-serve stations around a downtown area, where you can pick up a bike at one station and return it to another. In January, this program was launched in downtown Orlando, named “Orlando Bike Share.” So now, whether you live in downtown Orlando, commute to it for work, or visit for play, you can use bikes to get from point A to B, 24/7 in a whole new way.
The Grand Rollout
Orlando Bike Share was put in place to increase mobility in the urban core, connect to existing transit and provide another affordable transportation option in the downtown area.
“Our community has long worked to ensure that Orlando is a dynamic 21st century city – and key to what had been a focus on modern public transit. Starting with SunRail, we created a backbone for a growing mass transit system that now includes a new LYMMO route, car share and our latest amenity, Bike Share,” commented Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
The bicycles can be picked up and dropped off at different stations through the use of GPS technology. Additionally, users can see where bicycles are located, place a bicycle on hold and rent the bicycle through the free Social Bicycles app. The simple process for using Orlando Bike Share is: Reserve, Release, Ride, Return.
Riders have three set payment options, which include Pay As You Go ($5 per hour), Monthly Basic (60 minutes of free riding per day), and the Monthly Plus ($20/month). The first phase of the program began on January 9 and includes 30 bicycles at four different locations: OUC, Gertrude’s Walk, Skyhouse and Lake Eola. The second phase, beginning March 31, will add 16 more stations, providing 180 more bicycles for a total of 200 bicycles at 20 stations through downtown Orlando.
Benefiting Community & Creating Opportunity
While convenience is an essential component of bike share programs, an increase in bike use brings a lot more to the table than just that. The program is available to adults (18-plus) and can benefit numerous constituents, including residents, commuters and tourists.
Some of the benefits for everyone in the urban core include healthier citizens, reduction of air pollution in downtown Orlando, a convenient and reliable mobility option, a more bicycle-friendly downtown area and economic stimulation, as every bike share trip produces $7 in retail activity.
With exposure to 1,000 bike share riders per year, 3.5 million residents and 14.8 annual visitors, the program also creates new opportunities for business, with the ability to utilize the bikes for advertising or “host” a bike share station on a business property. The Orlando Bike Share program is owned, operated and maintained by a private company called Cyclehop. The City of Orlando is not subsidizing the program but is allowing the program to sell advertising space on the bicycles, kiosks and bicycle stations to support the program.
“When you think of great cities, they all have one thing in common: they have great downtowns, and Orlando is no exception,” said Mayor Dyer. “Bike Share is yet another amenity we are proud to add to our downtown as we continue to enhance our city core, provide a more walkable, bikeable experience and offer a variety of transportation options for our residents and visitors.”