November 30, 2017
After a successful first season, Portsmouth’s bike-share program, operated by Zagster, Inc., has closed up shop for the winter months. As with the City’s bicycle corrals (on-street bike parking) on Daniel Street and Market Street, the City is “hibernating” the bikes and stations during the winter months to avoid conflicts with snow clearing operations. This will also enable all of the bikes to receive maintenance. Launched on May 1, 2017, Zagster bike stations were located at the Memorial Bridge Parking Lot, Bridge Street Parking Lot, corner of Russell Street and Deer Street, corner of Summer Street and Islington Street, on Parrott Avenue at the intersection with Junkins Avenue, and in Market Square behind the North Church.
The Zagster program operates similarly to other bike share programs around the country like Hubway in Boston or Citi Bike in New York City. Once a member, users can take as many short (two-hour) trips as they want on a Zagster bike at no extra charge as long as the bike is returned to any of the Zagster stations within two hours. From May 1st to November 27th, 941 people signed up to use the program through one of the various membership types and a total of 1,876 trips were logged with an average of 63 trips per week. Membership and available bikes can be found via the free Zagster Mobile App — available for iPhone and Android — or online at https://bike.zagster.com/portsmouthnh/.
Recognized as a Bronze Level Bike Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, Portsmouth implemented this program to offer easy bike access and further encourage alternative transportation. According to Planning Director Juliet Walker, this program can continue to evolve to include more bike stations as well. “We continue to be very excited about being able to provide this service to both residents and visitors to the City and are pleased with its initial success. Over the winter, we will be exploring opportunities for expanding the program across the City via sponsorship agreements with local businesses.” The City recently executed a memorandum of understanding with the owners of Portwalk Place who will sponsoring a bike station at that location starting on May 1, 2018.
Portsmouth’s bike share promises to ease commutes, but it also unlocks vast recreational opportunities for exercise and fun. Unlike big-city bike shares, in which riders must drop off bikes at designated stations for every stop, the built-in lock on every Zagster bike gives users the freedom to use the bike for other stops within their two-hour use period. The two-hour trip limit is also different from big-city bike shares, where the trip limits are usually 30 minutes. Zagster’s turnkey business model lowers the cost and complexity of bike sharing to both Portsmouth and riders while providing the entire community with a complete, convenient and modular system.