It took Portland four years to find a sponsor willing to peddle its bike-share program.
But city officials have landed a big fish to put its name on the bikes: Nike. And that means a lot more bicycles.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation and Nike this morning unveiled their deal for a sponsored bike-share program called "BikeTown." The $10 million, five-year partnership will feature 1,000 "Nike orange" bicycles, a spike from the most recent estimate of 600.
PBOT director Leah Treat said that Portland's bike-share will be among the largest and the most affordable in the country. An annual membership will cost $10-15 per month, and a single ride will cost $2.50 for the first half hour. Treat also said that the program would include 500 reduced-income memberships.
The fact that Portland, a city with a reputation for bike-friendliness, did not have a bike-share program was "kind of embarrassing," said City Commissioner Steve Novick.
Portland has been trying to recruit a corporate sponsor for a bike-share system since 2012, when the city obtained a $2 million federal grant to launch the program. The process took so long that the contractor, Portland-based Alta Bike Share, had time to launch a bike-share program in New York City, take a financial nosedive, and get purchased by New York company Motivate—which will now run the Portland system.
In 2013, Alta Bike Share had offered sponsorship deals to dozens of companies, including Nike, Burgerville, New Seasons, Kaiser Permanente and the Portland Timbers—and been turned down by all of them.
PBOT tried to ask Portland City Council to front the money to launch the program—but went back to sponsor-hunting after WW revealed the plan for public financing.