The Parisian bike share system Vélib'. Image Credit: Getty Images
This summer, Cleveland is rolling out its new bike share program, joining the ranks of hundreds of other cities across the world that offer short-term bike rentals for commuters. But unlike the bike share rentals in New York City, Washington D.C., or those debuting in downtown Los Angeles later this summer, Cleveland’s new bikes don’t need to be returned to an official dock. They can be left anywhere, Vox reports.
UHBikes (named after sponsor University Hospitals) plans to roll out at least 700 bikes and 70 stations by 2020, starting with about 100 bikes in July and 100 in August, according to the local news site Cleveland.com. The bikes, made by CycleHop-SoBi, come equipped with on-board lock systems and GPS trackers so that for a fee, people can end their ride anywhere, rather than returning it to a set dock.
The 70 planned stations in Cleveland won’t be installed all at once, and bike shares are most useful when you can both pick up and drop off a bike at a location along your planned route—as long as you can find an empty dock. By allowing people to move outside the tight zone of initial stations, and leave bikes even at full docking stations, the system becomes open to more riders.
But, as Vox observes, the system doesn’t work perfectly. At another CycleHop-run bike share in Santa Monica, for instance, it costs $2 to leave your bike at a non-system dock and $20 to leave it out of the bounds of the system. On the flip side, if you return a loose bike to a system dock, you get a $1 credit to your account.
There's still a lot to work out about the Cleveland system, including new methods of payment. For users without credit cards, the Cleveland system may eventually let you access bikes using a library card.