PORTLAND, Maine — Portland has found a company to launch its anticipated bike share program in the summer of 2022, but is still looking for a sponsor to pay for it, the city said Wednesday.
In August, the city selected Tandem Mobility, a national bike share company, to plan and operate a program that would make 200 pedal and electronically assisted bikes available for rent on Portland streets. The bike share program will include virtual parking stations and flexible pricing programs that users can access with a smartphone app.
Officials have pushed since 2012 to start a bike share program in Portland, where increased public transportation has been one of the most widely supported policy priorities. Bike share programs have gained in popularity over the last decade as a way to ease traffic congestion and fight pollution. Dozens of U.S. cities have bike share programs, and more are in the works, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Expanded ways for people to safely bike in Portland is consistently mentioned by residents as something they value and hope to see more of,” said Christine Grimando, the city’s planning and urban development director.
The city’s agreement with Tandem Mobility will serve as a pilot program, beginning in June 2022 and lasting one year before both parties revisit the pact. The company operates or is in the process of implementing bike share programs in 13 other smaller cities in the U.S., including Huntsville, Tennessee; Danville, Virginia; and Southfield, Michigan.
The city said a business sponsor is necessary to make the program affordable to users and its charges comparable to public transit fares. Tandem Mobility was selected after the city put out a request for proposals in May. The city found no partner when it put out a similar request in 2019.
Portland’s bike network includes 22 miles of bike lanes, 9 miles of shared-use pathways and more than 5 miles of bicycle boulevards, according to the city.