Nashua is ready to rideBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
June 03. 2018 8:52PM
NASHUA — Two-hundred bicycles have made their way to the Gate City, ready for anyone who wants to hop on for a ride.
The city has partnered with VeoRide, an adaptable, dockless bike share system that allows riders to locate and access nearby bikes via their smartphones.
“The goal is to provide reliable, alternative transportation for residents and visitors,” said Julie Chizmas, the city’s transportation and long range planner. “This is a commuting solution, as well as a recreational option.”
“These programs are popular and they are coming to more cities. There is already so much excitement and positive feedback from people on the streets,” said Chizmas.
The city entered into a memorandum of understanding with VeoRide after seeking out possible vendors; the program is not costing the city any money.
According to Chizmas, the pilot program is being tested for four months. If it is successful, the city has the option to continue the use of VeoRides in Nashua.
This past weekend, 200 bikes were distributed throughout several different public places in the city, specifically areas where there is already a high demand for bike ridership.
Participants download the VeoRide app on their smartphones in advance, and can use the app to locate a public bicycle closest to their location. The bike can be reserved up to 10 minutes in advance.
Once the participant is with the bike, they use a QR code to scan the bike, which unlocks it for use.
“It is a self-locking bike,” explained Chizmas, adding participants pay 50 cents to ride the bikes for 15 minutes. The bike fee is paid with a credit card using the participant’s smartphone.
If the rider needs to temporarily park the bike to enter a store or business, the bike can be placed on hold for 10 minutes. The bicycle does not need to be returned to its original location, and can be left in any public area that is not distracting to pedestrians or motorists, ideally a bike rack if there is one available, according to organizers.
“We want these to be available to everybody,” said Chizmas, adding VeoRide is currently working on an alternative program for people who are unbanked or have no smartphone that would still allow them to utilize the bikes.
She envisions people who work downtown using the bikes during their lunch breaks to grab a quick meal to-go, as well as people who have short work commutes or families who want to enjoy a fun bike ride with their friends or guests.
Chizmas acknowledges that there is not a great bike infrastructure in the Gate City. However, VeoRide will create maps showing the city where the public bikes are being utilized most, which could help guide city planners on where to invest in bike lanes or other bike infrastructure in the future, she said.
“As a planner, I am very excited about that feature,” said Chizmas. “I am also really thrilled about this environmentally friendly transportation option being available in Nashua.”
VeoRide is the sole operator of the bike program, not the city; if there is a demand for more than 200 bikes, an additional 100 bikes will be added to the pilot program.