Bike Share Funding to End

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 7/10/2013 7:24 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) --- The "Bike Chattanooga" program has been going for a year now.
It has become popular with tourists and many locals, but it has not produced the revenue city officials had hoped for.
Operating under CARTA, the goal is to recruit more corporate sponsors and increase ridership.
But, it may take a while to put the program on solid footing .

Just insert a credit card---take a bike and see the city.
it's the result of a two year effort and a 2-million dollar start-up grant.

PHILLIP PUGLIESE, BICYCLE COORDINATOR "It was funded through federal transportation dollars, so no direct city dollars were acquiring he capital assets and operating the system."

There are operating revenues in that grant, but that ends in September.
After that, the program will depend on revenue produced from renting the bikes and from individual and corporate sponsors.
The city hired Bicycle Share as a vendor to operate the 31 stations around the city.
After a rocky start in 2012 because of a faulty computer program, the pay-as-you-go system has been running for a year, but not without some snags.

PHILLIP PUGLIESE "We always knew Chattanooga was a smaller market and that..we're really the first large-scale bicycle transit system in a medium size city..and that brought unique challenges with this project."

One report indicated that the program has brought-in only about 114-thousand dollars, which is not enough to support bike share at present.

PHILLIP PUGLIESE "We've had station sponsorship support from companies such as BlueCross Blueshield of Tennessee, One North Shore..among others and we look for additional support as a way to communicate a company's message."

Local officials are putting their ideas on the table to keep Bike Share in business.

PHILLIP PUGLIESE "It's been hugely well-received in the community..and we don't see it going away any time in the near future at all."

Pugliese says Bike Chattanooga is actually looking at expanding the program through Federal Transportation Funding..which may become available to the city.

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