By David Cruz
On the congested city streets of Hoboken, the smart commuter knows that two-wheeled transportation is the way to get around, hence the emergence of bike share programs. Jersey City launched its bike share program earlier this month and today neighboring Hoboken unveiled its own program, better, say operators, than the Citi Bike system next door.
“I’m a huge Citi Bike Customer. I just reached my 200th trip in the last two months,” said Tom Glendening, CEO of the urban planning group, E3Think, which helped develop the program.“It’s great, but this is better.”
Better with 29 stations and 250 bikes in a mile-square city. Hoboken’s program, Hudson Bike Share, won’t require you to go to a docking station to get a bike, like Citi Bike. Officials say all the technology to keep track of the bikes and promote interactivity, are contained in the bike, as opposed to the docking station, making it easier to pick up and drop off bikes.
In a city notorious for its two-hour parking limits and busy downtown, the mayor says a bike-sharing program is long overdue.
“This is going to give Hoboken residents and visitors a very convenient way to get from anywhere in our city to everywhere they want to go,” said Mayor dawn Zimmer. “It will be great for commuting, for running errands, for recreation purposes, so if, for example, on the western side of the city, and you need to get over to the PATH or the ferry, there’s another convenient way to do that.”
Meaning less cars on the road — a good thing, says hot dog vendor Julio Ortiz, who has to fight for a spot before he sets up shop every morning.
“Yeah, that’s beautiful. No parking over here, you know. The people leave their cars and they come with their bikes. That’s beautiful for the town,” he said. “A lot of people bike over here, all the time. You see? There’s one right now. That’s good for the town and it’s good for your body, good exercise. That’s good exercise, you know.”
First Ward Councilwoman Theresa Castellano says she’s a fan of the new program. “We have a densely-populated urban city,” she said. “We’re a walkable city [but] we need cars, we need buses, we need trucks and so this is an alternative and, you know we see them around town. But this is a more cohesive program and so we’re really happy it will hopefully alleviate some of the traffic we see around town.”
After September, the program will cost residents $95 for the year. The city says it costs them nothing to get it started and they could see ten percent of the profits, although bike-sharing programs around the country have struggled to actually make money. Zimmer says the plan is to build a regional system, with stations in nearby towns, including Jersey City, once this program gets its wheels turning.