Yesterday, the city held a bike-sharing test ride session in Rittenhouse Square, so that citizens and public officials alike could breeze through the park and experience the possible future of bike sharing in Philly. The three companies in the running for the right, nay, privilege to provide Philadelphia with bike sharing are B-Cycle, Alta/Public Bike System Company, and Social Bicycles.
B-Cycle: This company offers annual memberships, but the bikes can be used by anyone with a credit card. Annual members would also be able to access bikes in any of the 15 cities with B-Cycle bikeshare systems. The bikes come equipped with front baskets and cable locks.
Alta/Public Bike System Company: Selling points include choices between 3 and 7 speed bikes, durable, sturdy equipment, and most compellingly, the possibility (not certainty) that Philly users could access bikes in New York, Boston, and DC from bike share systems also operated by Alta. The bike terminals are solar powered.
Social Bicycles: This is the only bikes hare operator in the running that doesn't use kiosks: the bikes are simply locked at bike racks throughout the service area, making the system slightly more flexible than other options. The bikes are equipped with GPS so that their locations can be found online. Social Bicycle is dependent upon the internet, so it might not be as accessible to users without computers or smartphones. The bikes all have keypads, and members unlock bikes with PIN codes. The bike's keypad is solar powered, as are the bike's lights.
· Testing Out Bike Share Alternatives [Plan Philly]