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City Council Votes To Bring Bike Sharing To Portland

OPB | Dec. 12, 2012 1:28 p.m. | Updated: Dec. 12, 2012 3:51 p.m.

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Alta Bicycle Share also runs the Capital Bike Share program in Washington, D.C., which has logged more than 2 million trips since 2010.

Alta Bicycle Share also runs the Capital Bike Share program in Washington, D.C., which has logged more than 2 million trips since 2010.

Euan Fisk / Flickr

Shared bicycles are on their way to Portland following a vote at city council on Wednesday.

Customers could rent any of 750 bikes at 75 stations across the city. The projected cost to set up and run the program for one year is $6.5million dollars. Of that, $1.8 million is federal money awarded through the city.

Filling that gap – and finding sponsorship revenue into the future – is up to the contractor, Alta Bicycle Share.

The company’s head, Mia Birk, says that’s like the contract her company has with New York City, but it’s different from agreements with other cities.

Birk says she is excited to start bike-sharing in her hometown of Portland. “But it is a big responsibility on us, and that’s going to be a challenge. Portland is not the same as New York City, does not have the deep-pocket companies and the media value that New York has with the density of population and activities. So I see it as a challenge – I like challenges, I’m excited about it – but I’m also cautious.”

Mayor Sam Adams hopes the bike share program can launch next year. But city officials say that will depend on the private sector’s appetite to sponsor the program.

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