Biketown (stylized as BIKETOWN), also known as Biketown PDX, is a bicycle-sharing system in Portland, Oregon, that began operation on July 19, 2016. The system is owned by Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and operated by Lyft, with Nike, Inc. as the title sponsor. At launch, the system had 100 stations and 1,000 bicycles serving the city's central and eastside neighborhoods, with hopes to expand outward.
|Owner||Portland Bureau of Transportation|
|Transit type||Bicycle-sharing system|
|Number of stations||133|
|Began operation||July 19, 2016|
|Operator(s)||Lyft, Inc.|
|Number of vehicles||1,000|
Planning for a modern bicycle-sharing system for Portland began in 2009, under the direction of PBOT. Beginning in 1994, a group of Portlanders experimented with a free community bike sharing system called the "Yellow Bike Project"; the program, inspired by a similar scheme in Amsterdam and operated by the Community Cycling Center, was declared a failure three years later after many of the bikes were subject to vandalism, theft and disrepair.
In December 2011, Metro approved the allocation of a $2 million federal grant to PBOT for the development of a bike share system. Alta Bike Share, a national operator of similar systems headquartered in Portland, was contracted in September 2012 to be the system's operator. The $4 million cost of the system and inability to secure a corporate sponsor led to several delays in the planned launch.
In September 2015, the Portland City Council approved a new contract with Motivate to move forward on the bikeshare program. Motivate went on to place a $1.5 million order placed with Social Bicycles to manufacture and deliver "smart" bicycles that include on-board computers and other technologies.
In January 2016, Portland-area based Nike signed a $10 million, five-year deal to be the program's sponsor, naming it "Biketown". On June 13, 2016, officials announced various details for the program, including a launch date of July 19. More than 1,000 Portlanders signed up for the first batch of annual memberships by launch day, and almost 2,500 during the first month of the service.
The service launched on July 19, 2016, during a ceremony in which 150 riders took an inaugural ride across the Tilikum Crossing bridge. During the service's first month, almost 59,000 rides were taken. Holders of annual memberships accounted for 36 percent of rides taken during that period.
The placement of Biketown stations that replaced public street parking sparked some controversy over a "lack of outreach" by PBOT.
Portland residents were surveyed online and invited to five open house discussions to decide the locations of the bike racks. The final locations were based on the 4,500 responses. As of its launch in 2016, Biketown operates 100 stations in 8 square miles (21 km2) of the city.
Neighborhoods that are served by Biketown include:
Pricing and feesEdit
Biketown operates with three payment options for riders. A single-ride fare of $2.50 includes 30 minutes of riding. A day pass ($12) includes 180 minutes of riding and the ability to rent up to 4 bicycles at a time (at a cost of $6 each). An annual membership of $12 per month includes unlimited rides within a 90-minute daily limit, as well as the 4-bicycle maximum available to day-pass users.
Riders making extended trips over their allotted time limit are charged 10 cents per additional minute. A fee of $2 is charged for locking a bicycle at a public rack within the system area; a fee of $20 is charged for the doing the same outside of the system area. A $1 account credit is awarded for bringing a bicycle from a public rack to a designated station.
There is a discount program available for low income participants for $3/month. 
A fee of $1,500 is charged for a lost bicycle.
The city's contract with operator Motivate includes provisions to introduce a discount to 500 low-income residents of $35 per year.
Biketown's fleet of 1,000 bicycles were manufactured by Social Bicycles of Brooklyn, New York and designed in part by Nike, at a cost of $1,500 each. The eight-speed bikes weigh 45 pounds (20 kg) and come equipped with automatic lights and a bell; the seat is positioned for upright ridership. Unlike a typical bike share system, Biketown's bicycles do not need to be docked at a designated station, instead using on-board computers with location tracking and U locks; this allows bikes to be stored at public bicycle racks, though users are charged an additional fee. Bikes are rented by customers using a PIN, generated by a smartphone app or computer, or a member card. Biketown is the largest self-secured bike share system in North America.
In June 2016, PBOT announced plans to add "adaptive bikes", such as handcycles and tricycles, that can be rented for people with disabilities. They will be branded as Biketown but will be organized through local adaptive bike shops, rather than at the standard street kiosks.
Not part of the Biketown PDX service, but sharing some aspects, is a private bike-sharing program for employees of Nike in the Beaverton area, where Nike's world headquarters is located. As of 2016, the program had already been in place "for years", but was recently renamed Biketown WHQ. The suffix, standing for World Headquarters, is intended to differentiate the program from the public Biketown PDX service in Portland. The City of Portland owns the rights to the "Biketown" name, but gave Nike permission to use it for its program. It has a fleet of 400 bicycles, which company employees can use to go between any of Nike's several Beaverton-area facilities. In 2016, when Nike signed a 10-year sponsorship contract with Portland for the latter's new bike-sharing service, it also purchased for its own service new bicycles of the same design (and color: orange) as used on the Biketown PDX service, from Social Bicycles. However, the Biketown WHQ program is operated by Holy Spokes, a Portland bike shop, rather than by Motivate.
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- Njus, Elliot (August 26, 2016). "136,000 miles in, Biketown bike-share makes its mark on Portland". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
- Njus, Elliot (July 19, 2016). "Biketown bike-share program launches with inaugural Tilikum Crossing ride". The Oregonian. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- Dowling, Jennifer (July 13, 2016). "Biketown racks not welcome in some neighborhoods". KOIN. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
- Julia Comnes (July 16, 2016). "The BikeTown Backlash Starts With Handmade Signs From Southeast Portland Malcontents". Willamette Week. Retrieved July 28, 2016.
- Biketown Station Map (Map). Portland Bureau of Transportation. June 13, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- "Single Ride". Biketown. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- "Day Pass". Biketown. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- "Pricing". Biketown. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- "Annual Membership". Biketown. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- "Biketown for all".
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- Passas, Jennifer (January 29, 2016). "1,000 Nike-Orange Bikes Will Make Portland Even Bike-Friendlier". PSFK. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- Andersen, Michael (June 30, 2016). "Portland will offer Biketown-branded cycles for people with disabilities". BikePortland.org. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Parks, Casey (June 30, 2016). "Portland's bike-share program will add adaptive bikes". The Oregonian. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- Budnick, Nick (September 15, 2016). "Lack of helmets a Biketown road bump". Portland Tribune. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
- Njus, Elliot (October 7, 2016) [online date October 6]. "Why do I keep seeing Biketown bikes in Beaverton? (Commuting Q&A)". The Oregonian. p. A6. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
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