When Great Rides Bike Share launched in Fargo’s in March 2015, staff hoped each bike would get checked out a couple times a day. That’s not what they got. They beat that goal 5 fold. “We’re excited about the cultural shift,” says Great Rides “spokes”person, Sara Watson Curry. She’s Great Rides’ director of operations.
Season two is officially in the books, with total rides approaching 250,000. It’s an impressive milestone, but there’s still room for growth. Parent company BCycle is looking at a tech overhaul to improve rider experience. Right now, members can scope out bike availability online. BCycle is beta testing an app that lets members reserve a bike. If there’s a problem with a bike, there’s currently a number to call. Reporting problems is now built into the new app. There’s also potential for better fitness tracking. Right now, members see estimated miles ridden and calories burned. Estimates are based on the time between check out and return and the distance between the bike docks. That means if you check out a bike for two hours, the software thinks you’re biking for two hours. It doesn’t matter if you stopped for 90 minutes for pizza and beer. With the app on your phone, the stats are more accurate. Then there’s integration. BCycle is partnering with cities to include bike shares in the public transportation offering. Is your bus stop still six blocks from your destination? With bike share nearby, it’s easier to roll on, especially with new smart bikes with built-in GPS. This last change is happening in major cities, but it’s a indicator of what could come to Fargo.
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