PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Providence is moving ahead with plans to introduce a bike share program linking downtown with Brown University, Federal Hill and other locations on the city’s east and west sides.
Alta Bicycle Share, of Portland, Ore., submitted the winning proposal to manage the program over two other companies. It runs bike share programs in Boston, New York City and Chicago.
In the program’s first phase, Alta proposes having 200 bicycles at 20 bike stations, including at Kennedy Plaza, the Statehouse, the train station, Brown’s main and medical campuses, the Jewelry District, Providence Place Mall, Johnson & Wales, the Rhode Island School of Design and Federal Hill.
The program would expand over several years to 40 stations and 400 bicycles, according to its proposal. Expansion stations are proposed for Upper South Providence, Smith Hill, Hope Street, The Steel Yard, Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence College and other sites.
Users could get daily, weekly or annual memberships.
Toby Shepherd, Providence’s director of policy, said the city hasn’t yet signed a contract with Alta and is working out many details, including how the program would be paid for. While the city is enthusiastic about a bike share, he said, there are financial constraints.
“If this is going to work for Providence, it has to be revenue-neutral,” he said, though the program could produce some money for the city if it’s successful and there’s a revenue-sharing agreement.
“Other cities have had great success and their programs are thriving,” Shepherd said.
Alta’s bid indicates it will take about $780,000 to launch the program, with equipment and other startup costs. The company said it could get the program off the ground within six months of securing a sponsor or sponsors.
In a letter to the city introducing its proposal, Alta CEO Michael G. Jones said he envisioned a “quick and successful” sponsorship process.
Operating costs are estimated at between $455,000 and $513,000 a year. Funds would come from user revenue, sponsorship and advertising.