- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Bike Share plans to spend $500,000 from a federal grant to outfit the city with 500 bicycles for the public bicycle-sharing program.

Bike Share officials hope to fund the program, set to begin next spring, through charitable foundations, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (https://bit.ly/13kKSmG ) reported Friday. That would make Pittsburgh’s program a public service, rather than a money-making venture, which is how similar programs are run in other U.S. cities.

“Prices in other cities can really take advantage of two types of users - those with annual memberships and tourists. We didn’t want that,” said Bart Yavorosky, the executive director of the Pittsburgh Bike Share Partnership.

Instead, group would like to keep the cost of renting the bikes down to about 50 cents an hour to encourage more people to use them.

The bikes will be stored at 50 electronic kiosks around the city. Users can pay for the short-term rentals with a credit card that unlocks the bike.

A $1.6 million federal grant will pay for the bikes, and the installation of the kiosks. The partnership has already raised $1.2 million to from charities to sustain the program for the first year, with hopes foundations will fund the program indefinitely.

Yavorosky wants to keep the rental costs down so more people will use the Pittsburgh bikes than in other cities with similar programs. A report showed Denver’s program - the first in the nation - yielded about 720 rides on 709 bikes each day, or about one ride per bike per day, Yavorosky said.

The bikes will be purchased from Nextbike, a German firm, and will have a lighter design and a bigger gear ratio to help riders navigate Pittsburgh’s hills than some bikes being used in other cities.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, https://pghtrib.com

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