In our Bike Issue this year, the Mercury offered you a glimpse into Portland's future, soliciting tales of bike share around the country from folks who live with the system.
It was helpful advice, no doubt, but it's possible a more-thorough glimpse into a 750-bike system officials are hoping to set up here next year is offered in a story in yesterday's New York Times.
New York City's had some ridiculous gripes about its bike share system since it got underway a couple weeks back, but the problems cited in the story aren't based in irrational fears. The hardware's just not working.
NYC's Citibike system, of course, was implemented by Portland's Alta Bicycle Share, the same company the City of Portland has signed up to kick off a system here by next spring. Alta's bike share systems have been plagued by well-documented software glitches. A bike share spokesman in Chattanooga, Tenn., told me in March that city has largely resolved its problems with the Alta software. But the Times story suggests there are still concerns.
Of course, there's still plenty of time for Alta to work out the kinks before rolling out a system in Portland (and Seattle and San Francisco). And there's still a sizable funding hole the company needs to close—via corporate sponsors—in order to purchase and run a system here.
Reached last week for a story, Alta President Mia Birk said a funding arrangement has yet to materialize, but she hopes to have news soon. Alta's looking into potentially identifying a single sponsor who might be willing to bankroll bike share both here and in Seattle, which plans to roll out a system next spring as well.
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