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Valley Bike Share moving closer to a restart 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 is getting closer to restarting, although an exact date has not been set.

The system was shuttered last year when the operator went bankrupt. Earlier this month, the selection of a new vendor, Drop Mobility, was announced with the hopes of Valley Bike Share being up and running again by the end of the month.

Carolyn Misch is Northampton's planning and sustainability director. The city administers the program. She said it's been a large undertaking to go through all 700-plus bikes which have been in storage for over a year.

"They've organized all the parts that were just thrown together in boxes when the previous vendor left abruptly or stopped operations abruptly, everything was really disorganized, so they've waded through all of that," she said.

Misch said one unexpected discovery was several of the bikes were broken beyond repair, some with cracked frames. And Drop Mobility also needs to install its software on the bikes and at the docking stations to facilitate rentals.

She added she’s been hearing from many area residents who are excited about Valley Bike Share returning and wanting to know when. Misch said though, it takes time to ensure a smooth rollout.

"We want to make sure we're taking the time now so that there aren't any glitches when all the bikes rollout at once," Misch said. "It might take a little bit longer than everyone wishes or hopes, but that's only so that we're successful on day one."

Valley Bike Share is available in eight communities in western Massachusetts, including Northampton, Easthampton, Holyoke, Amherst and Springfield as well as UMass Amherst. It provides electric assist bicycles for rent.

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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