FutureStructure

Suffolk County, N.Y., Hires Boston Company to Set Up Bike Sharing

Like NYC's Citi Bike program, Suffolk residents with the Zagster app will be able to pick up and drop off bikes at docks placed throughout the county.

by Alfonso A. Castillo, Newsday / May 21, 2018
A Zagster dock in Utica, NY. Shutterstock

(TNS) — Suffolk County, N.Y., has hired a Boston company to set up and operate a bike-share program that will allow users to rent or drop off a bicycle at multiple locations through the use of a mobile app.

On Friday, Suffolk awarded Zagster Inc. a contract to design and build bicycle-share services in the county. The arrangement comes at no cost to Suffolk, and will be fully financed by Zagster, which will keep revenue it generates from the program.

Zagster’s program, known as Pace, is already in more than 100 municipalities in the United States, including the upstate cities of Rochester and Utica. The program allows customers to use the app to locate and rent a bicycle, paying a fee that will depend on how long they use the bike.

A Zagster representative did not respond to a request for comment.

As with New York City’s Citi Bike program, users will be able to pick up and drop off bikes at a number of Pace docks throughout the county — using a designated code to unlock them. But Zagster’s program will also allow users, for an extra fee, to leave their bikes at other locations, including public bicycle racks.

“It gives the user some sort of flexibility in their using of the system, and they could do that all through a single app on their phone,” said Jonathan Keyes, director of downtown and transit oriented development for the county.

Keyes said the county’s vision for the program, which is expected to begin rolling out later this year, is to have bikes available for pick up and drop off in downtown areas, waterfronts, train stations, parks and industrial business corridors.

“We’ve got so many great amenities in Suffolk County. And in a lot of instances, they’re amenities that are separated by just a little bit more than a comfortable walking distance,” Keyes said. “It’s about to get a whole lot better biking in Suffolk County.”

Suffolk officials said the program will also comply with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new County-Wide Shared Services Initiative, which calls on different levels of government within a county to work together to reduce costs to taxpayers. The county expects to enter into agreements with various towns and villages to tailor bike-share services in their communities.

“With this selection, we are one step closer to delivering more transportation options and using Governor Cuomo’s shared services model to do so,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement.

©2018 Newsday Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.