“Bublr” Bike Share System Is Launched
The $3 million system is now installing 10 bike sharing stations and could expand to 100 stations and 1,000 bikes.
As of today, Milwaukee can be added to this list: New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Madison, Denver, Houston, Washington, and Indianapolis — just some of the major American cities operating bike-sharing systems.
Bike-sharing systems allow people to rent bicycles for short term use, often 30 minutes. Riders use a credit card to checkout a bicycle at a docking station and can check it back in at any other station within the system’s network. This allows residents, workers, and tourists to use a bicycle to grab lunch, get to work, or go see the city.
At a press conference this morning, in Red Arrow Park , Midwest BikeShare, Inc. announced that the rollout of Milwaukee’s bike-sharing system has begun. Yesterday, a docking station was installed in Red Arrow Park and within a few weeks there will be 10 stations located in downtown Milwaukee. The sites are:
- Cathedral Square Park
- Chase Plaza
- Discovery World
- 411 East Wisconsin Center
- Intermodal Station
- Public Market
- Red Arrow Park
- Schlitz Park
- U.S. Bank Building
- Wisconsin Center
In 2015 the system is scheduled to expand to as many as 35 stations with up to 300 bikes. These new stations are planned for the Historic Third Ward, Bay View, King Drive, Brady Street, the Menomonee Valley and the East Side. Over the next few years the system could grow to 100 stations and 1,000 bikes throughout the Milwaukee area. And in 2016 the system will expand to include the suburbs of West Allis, Wauwatosa, and Shorewood. Just this week these suburbs received approval from WisDOT for $399,360, $426,634, and $398,607 respectively in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds to help them install additions to the bike-sharing system.
In addition to rolling out new bikes and docking stations, Midwest Bikeshare will implement a traditional bike-sharing pricing structure to replace the pricing structure that’s been in use at the Discovery World station. The new rates will range from $7 for a day pass to $20 monthly for unlimited trips under 30 minutes each, additional charges will apply for longer trips.
In a press release, Kevin Hardman, launch director of Bublr Bikes, explained that the “fun, playful name was inspired by a quirky bit of Milwaukee lingo and invokes our location on one of the Great Lakes and several major rivers.”
“Bublr Bikes will put Milwaukee on par with our peer cities and generate excitement for people of all ages,” said Mayor Tom Barrett in the release.
MGIC Chairman and CEO Curt Culver added that his company was supporting Bublr Bikes because it would help attract young talent and business to Milwaukee. “I encourage other Milwaukee employers to get behind Bublr Bikes and help make downtown and nearby neighborhoods even more exciting and vibrant,” Culver said.
Midwest BikeShare had raised nearly $3 million to fund the system with more than $1 million of the funding came from over two dozen private donors, including Mandel Group, MGIC, the Astor Street Foundation, The Pabst Theater Group, Schlitz Park, the US Bank Center, the Brico Fund, the Milwaukee Development Corporation, Lakefront Brewery, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Dermond Property Investments, Rockwell Automation and others.
Hardman added that an additional $3 million will be needed to expand the system to 1,000 bikes. “We greatly appreciate the leadership of these private sponsors and urge other private sponsors to join us in bringing bike sharing to the people of Milwaukee,” Hardman said.
- The City of Milwaukee will also receive $412,692 in TAP funds to install bicycle plates on the N. Emmber Ln. and N. Plankinton Ave. bridges.
- On Friday August 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin is holding the Polish Moon Ride & Block Party. The 11 mile fundraising ride leaves at 8:00 p.m. and will take riders through historic Polish neighborhoods on Milwaukee’s near south side. Registration is available on the Bike Fed website here. Rumor has it that there will be a post party ride to Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall.