Ready or not, the Hubway bike share program has arrived in Boston, including multiple stations in the North End / Waterfront area. The closest stations are located at:
- Lewis Wharf, Atlantic Ave.
- Hanover & Cross Streets Corner
- Aquarium T-Stop
- Rowes Wharf/Harbor Towers
- Faneuil Hall / Union St.
- North Station
Hubway riders will be able to rent a bike at one station and return it at another. Smartphone apps are expected to tell users how many bikes are available at each station. Users pay a fixed price plus time-based usage fees for trips over 30 minutes (see pricing below).
For the North End / Waterfront, the locations were announced at recent meetings on the proposed bike lanes for Atlantic Ave and Commercial St. The stations in the neighborhood will be adjacent to planned bike lanes along Atlantic Ave., Commercial St. and the Greenway. Although the stations use public sidewalks, Hubway and City Hall’s Boston Bikes negotiated with nearby private property owners to scout out the specific placement spots. The stations are not permitted in public parks, most of which prohibit bicycle use.
Some other neighborhood groups are looking for more say in the the program rollout, including the Beacon Hill Civic Association. According to a Beacon Hill Patch article, “The city assured BHCA President Steve Young that each neighborhood advisory committee would have an opportunity to offer suggestions about how to roll out the program, called Hubway.” But that opportunity never materialized, Young said. Now, the association must act quickly to come up with suggestions to bring to the city because as he said, “One way or another, [Hubway] is happening.”
The City of Boston contracted with Alta Bicycle Share for 600 bicycles in 61 stations across the city. The $4.5 million program is funded by grants, including $3 million from the Federal Transit Administration, $450,000 from the Boston Public Health Commission and $250,000 from the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program.
Similar bike share programs are already underway in Montreal, Minneapolis, London and Washington D.C. The Boston system is expected to expand to outer neighborhoods in the coming years. The network goal is to have stations every 1500 feet throughout the city.
The stations are solar-powered and do not require electrical hookups. Stations are moveable and will not be bolted to the ground. Each station has a kiosk with pricing and use information and for registration by new subscribers. A map frame contains a local map of stations and instructions for use on one side and an advertisement on the other side.
The “swipe card” pricing system encourages short trips. In addition to a fixed fee, there are variable usage fees for rides over 30 minutes. For example, a 3 hour ride would cost $28.50 in usage fees for a registered member. The system is open to the public (over 16 years of age) with fixed fees at $5 for 24 hours, $12 for 3 days or $85 for a full year (currently discounted to $60 as an introductory offer). Notably, the pricing page refers those looking for extended trips to contact a local bike rental shop, such as Urban Adventours on Atlantic Avenue. The system will not operate in the winter.