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Valley Bike Share looks to get rolling again in Western Massachusetts

An empty ValleyBike docking station in Northampton, Massachusetts, on April 24, 2023.
Alden Bourne
An empty ValleyBike docking station in Northampton, Massachusetts, on April 24, 2023.

The Valley Bike Share program will review proposals from prospective vendors, to help get the program up and running again.

Eight communities and UMass Amherst participate in the system, which provides electric-assist bicycles for rent. The program was shelved last year after the company overseeing it entered bankruptcy proceedings.

Carolyn Misch is the director of planning and sustainability for Northampton, which administers Valley Bike Share. She said three proposals were submitted, with the hope that a vendor could be selected by mid-March. She said once that happens, the first step will be servicing the 700 bikes owned by the communities.

"They need to be checked because they've been in storage for over a year, so there's a lot of initial start-up that's going to be required," Misch said.

The new company would also be responsible for redistributing the bikes across the region, along with other technical aspects of the program’s operations.

Misch added, there were lots of inquiries from residents last year wondering when the bikes would return.

"That also sort of pushed the communities to really work to come to the conclusion that we needed to roll up our sleeves and get the bikes back out on the street," she said.

The entities involved have committed to funding Valley Bike Share for this year, but Misch said more money is going to be needed in the future to keep it going.

"Long term funding, anywhere from private to public dollars, state, federal and potentially sponsorship dollars," she said.

The program was first launched in 2018.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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