Small-scale, local bike sharing works — and our system in Carmel, Indiana, is a perfect example of how to do it right.
Read the case study: Successful local bike sharing in Carmel
Which is why we were proud to participate in this year’s annual Conference of Mayors, held June 24-26 in Indianapolis, with an opening night ceremony in Carmel. Hundreds of mayors from across the country had the opportunity to see local bike sharing in action as we staffed a special bike-share station at that kickoff gala. The station offered up free rides to interested attendees, and served as a tangible indicator of the positive impact local bike sharing can have in any community.
But don’t just take our word for it: Here’s what Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard had to say about local bike sharing in Carmel when we spoke with him earlier this year.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity and length
Zagster: You personally use Zagster a lot. What do you think of it?
Mayor Brainard: I love Zagster. We need to expand, work harder on getting the business community to install stations, but we've got a good base and it's been a great product for us. The bikes are well-built, the technology works well and the public loves it.
Z: Why did you decide to partner with Zagster?
MB: We looked at many providers of bicycles and bicycle-share programs. What is unique about Zagster is the fact that the city doesn't have to have the huge capital investment with your system. We can work to install stations and grow the system in a partnership with community partners and not have the entire burden be on taxpayers.
Z: Did that make it more appealing than other bike-sharing options?
MB: Yes. Not only you can grow it incrementally, but you can grow it incrementally with partners. Emphasis on the partners — community partners, businesses, churches, neighborhood associations. Any institution in the city could add bike stations.
Z: What has been the program's biggest success to date?
MB: The amount of usage. We've had a lot of usage, a lot a bike riding. It's worked out very well for us. Z: How has Zagster improved the lives of Carmel's residents?
MB: We all need to get more active in this country. We have designed cities over the last 60 - 70 years where people aren't required to walk or get any exercise on a daily basis. We're trying to change that in this city by going back to the way we designed cities for centuries before the car came along. A bike share is one of many components to make a city like ours work well.
Z: How has local bike sharing impacted Carmel’s economy?
MB: Zagster has helped our economy in many ways. It’s made it a more fun place to visit, made it a better place for millennials that don't want to necessarily own a car and want to be able to have alternative transportation options. It's just made it more fun for our residents.