Bike-share programs push deeper into suburbs
App-based bike-share programs are no longer just for getting around a big, congested city. While LimeBike recently moved into several Greater Boston communities, Zagster is making inroads in the western suburbs.
The Minuteman Bike Share, which started operating with two Zagster stations in Lexington last year, recently added five new stations — two in Acton, one in Maynard, and two in Concord. There are now 44 bikes at seven stations in those four communities.
Zagster also operates in Marlborough and is considering other expansions, said Karl Alexander, market manager for Zagster.
“Our vision is regional,’’ Alexander said. “We’ve spoken with quite a few municipalities on the North Shore as well with an ultimate vision of connecting all of them with one app.’’
Bill Nemser, Maynard’s town planner, said the program will allow residents, workers, and visitors to get around town without a car.
“Anytime you can do that in a community like Maynard that’s walkable is a good thing,’’ he said.
Like LimeBike and Blue Bikes in Boston, Zagster allows users to unlock and pay for bikes with the click of a few buttons. The Zagster bikes can be locked at any public rack for short stops but must be returned to a Minuteman Bike Share station at the end of a trip.
The Acton stations will be located across from True West in West Acton and at the South Acton Train Station off Maple Street; the Mill & Main campus in Maynard; and the Concord Visitor Center in downtown Concord and near the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in West Concord. The Lexington stations that opened last year are at 10 Maguire Road and in Lexington Center.
There are two payment options with Zagster. Users can sign up for a $25 annual membership or pay hourly, at a cost of $1 an hour.
LimeBike recently moved into 15 Greater Boston communities as part of a dock-free program through the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. Participating communities are Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Revere, Waltham, Watertown, and Winthrop.
Lime users in Arlington have taken more than 15,000 rides on the system, averaging about 1,100 rides per week since the end of August, according to a press release from the town. This is more than seven times the number of rides recorded in mid-July, two weeks after the launch. It also includes more than 2,400 rides taken on Lime-E Electric Assist bicycles that have been added to the bike-share fleet.
Lime’s ridership data shows that of rides originating in Arlington, 12,734 rides have been taken on manual bicycles and 2,482 have been taken on Lime-E bicycles, for a total of 15,216 rides. Per trip, riders typically bicycle about half a mile, with a total distance traveled of more than 14,942 miles in the lifetime of the program. Riders spend approximately 10 minutes on each trip.
According to the Arlington Department of Planning and Community Development, the top locations for both unlocking and parking bicycles are in Arlington Center, the Alewife MBTA stop, and along the Massachusetts Avenue, Broadway, and Minuteman Bikeway corridors.
Manual LimeBikes cost $1 per each 30 minutes to ride. Lime-E Electric Assist bikes cost $1 to unlock plus $0.15 per minute to ride.