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Western Mass. Electric Bike Share Program To Launch In May

A regional bike share program is set to launch in western Massachusetts this spring.

The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission plans to start ValleyBike Share in May. The bike share scheme includes the communities of Northampton, Holyoke, South Hadley, Springfield and Amherst -- including UMass.

Speaking at a renewable energy forum in Springfield, Amherst Sustainability Coordinator Stephanie Ciccarello said that some people hear the term "bike share" and think of leisurely vacation bike rentals. But this, she said, isn't the case.

"The purpose is really to get you in that last mile of transportation," Ciccarello said. "So if you take a bus... or you take a train to get to a community, you use the bike to get you to that last mile."

And these are not just plain old bikes. These are electric pedal-assisted, so you don't have to struggle up hills.

The first 29 bike stations will hold 290 electric bikes. Those will be paid for through a $1.3 million federal grant.

The stations will be operated by Canadian company Bewegen, which has also committed to supplying as many as 20 additional stations.

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