PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland residents have ridden 136,000 miles on bike-share program bikes since the program launched in July.

Since July 19 Biketown users have taken nearly 59,000 trips, making progress toward the city’s goal of having 400,000 rides in the program’s first year, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (https://is.gd/qg12x5).

Biketown General Manager Dorothy Mitchell said the shared bicycles are getting so much more use than expected that mechanics had to be called for tuneups sooner than expected. She said the city had hoped to get some residents onto bikes and out of cars, and seeing the program working is better than expected.

“That’s just been super gratifying,” Mitchell said. “Something we were really hoping might happen actually appears to be happening.”

Portland purchased the equipment for the program with a $2 million grant and Nike inked a $10 million, 5-year sponsorship deal that grew the fleet from 600 to 1,000 bicycles.

In its first month, Biketown signed up nearly 2,500 annual members, who pay up front for daily access to the bikes. Without a membership the cost to ride is $2.50 for 30 minutes. When frequent trips are necessary, a $12 pass allows for three hours of ride time throughout the day.

Though the program has been going strong, there is some concern that Portland’s fall weather will force people off the bikes and back into the shelter of vehicles. Also concerning is the first surge is a fluke. In Seattle, the Pronto bike-sharing system had a huge drop in ridership and membership after its first year.

“We hope we don’t have too many people drop off,” said Mitchell. “The winter will provide a great opportunity to really crunch the numbers and see if all our station locations are working the best, gear up, and think about what our marketing push will be next spring.”

Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com

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