Bike sharing program coming to St. Pete this fall

- Thursday, the St. Petersburg City Council approved a $1.5 million dollar contract with CycleHop to bring a bike sharing program to the 'burg.

Cycle Hop operates Coast Bike share in Tampa.

Since it started rolling 18 months ago, Tampa's bike share program has come a long way; specifically, about 200,000 miles. Its bicycles will cross that milestone by the end of the month.

"Tampa has been an amazing success. it very much exceeded expectations," said Coast Bike Share's Eric Trull. "We're expecting to do even better in St. Pete. We've got a great grid system over there, fantastic trail and we expect big things in St. Pete."

Expect to see bikes in downtown, near the waterfront, in the business district and near 22nd Street. 

"You get a six-digit account number, you put [it] into [the] back of the bike, hit green [the] check, enter a pin number you assign, [the] lock comes out and you're ready to ride," Trull explained while walking through the process to get a bike.

"It's an exciting time in St. Petersburg. We're glad to be getting bike share going," said Benjamin Kirby with the city of St. Pete.

The city is paying for the bike share, in part, using money from the BP oil spill settlement; about $250,000.

"The BP oil spill was an environmental disaster. Lets look at creative and innovative solutions to get cars off the road and this hopefully goes a way towards that," said Kirby. 

"It's really designed to get you from the house to [the] coffee shop, from the coffee shop to the office and on with the rest of the day," said Trull.

Plans are to have the bike sharing program up and running in the fall.

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