HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- “We have a really bikable city, we have a beautiful place to get around, we have a very level city, we have very minimal traffic," said avid bike rider Bruce Weddendorf, Founder of Huntsville Urban Bike Share.
Bike share programs are growing in popularity around the country and closer to home-- cities like Birmingham, Chattanooga, Raleigh, and Nashville are all on board the bike-share train.
When Chad Emerson, President of Downtown Huntsville Inc., started looking for a bike share program to bring to Huntsville, he knew it would have to uphold specific qualifications.
"We’d really like a program, but what’s the most technologically advanced way of doing that? And so we interviewed several companies, came up with Zagster, which is really what Uber is to taxis, Zagster is to bike share," Emerson said.
“We have a high-tech city, it’s good to have a high-tech bike share to go with it," Weddendorf said.
High tech as in it all operates through the convenience of a simple app on your phone. You'll be able to walk up to a bike, request a certain bike number, and you'll be given a code or a Bluetooth signal which you'll use to unlock the bike, and off you'll ride!
That app will be available for download on March 1, and the bikes ready for cruising on March 8. The Downtown BlueBikes presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama will have forty bikes at eight stations across downtown Huntsville. And unlike many programs, these bikes are versatile and discreet. They have the appearance of a casual cruiser but are still durable.
And the Zagster bikes have the flexibility of being locked up anywhere you want to put them, not just their designated stations. You can lock them onto a tree or bike rack, wherever you want.
This is also one of first bike share systems to be installed using zero taxpayer dollars. The program is entirely privately funded.
You can find more information about the launch event here.