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Bike sharing in Syracuse to start this spring

Ellen Abbott
WRVO Public Media
Neil Burke, Syracuse transportation planner, with one of the new bikes.

The city of Syracuse will kick off a new cycle-sharing program this spring.

The bright teal smart bikes, part of the program called SYNC, will hit the road in April. The city has struck a deal with Gotcha Bikes to provide the cycles. Neil Burke, transportation planner with the Department of Public Works, said 200 bikes will be located at 35 different sites across the city.

"They are mostly focused around our existing biking structure,” Burke said. “So, you’ll see them along the Creekwalk or along the Connective Corridor; places we already have bike lanes in place.”

The bikes will be stationed at a specific dock. Riders will be able to get annual or daily memberships through an app or the company's website. Burke said there’s no price point yet, noting it’s not meant to replace or substitute cars or the bus.

"It’s meant to be one more piece of that transportation network, to fill in that gap, those last mile solutions,” Burke said. “So, if you are traveling from your house to the bus stop and it’s a half-mile, this would be a good option for you.”

And even though the program is starting in April, the idea is to have it run year-round in snowy Syracuse.

"We’re hoping it has robust usage in the winter months," Burke said. "Although we understand that in cases when we are expecting two feet of snow, we may pull some of these in and evaluate that. But that’s something we can do on the fly with the back-end technology that this comes with.”

Gotcha produces the bikes out of its company headquarters in South Carolina. Syracuse is the first municipality in New York State to sign on with them. They currently operate on three college campuses in the state. The program comes at no cost to the city, supported by sponsorships and the vendor.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.