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More riders, more miles for ValleyBike Share in 2019

  • Amherst District 3 Town Councilor Dorothy Pam, center, and Town Manager Paul Bockelman, right, chat near an Amherst ValleyBike Share docking station for the release of "Renewable Communities", a report by the Environmental Massachusetts Research and Policy Center, on Tuesday, July 23, 2019.

Staff Writer
Published: 12/1/2019 9:43:14 PM

NORTHAMPTON — ValleyBike Share is closing out its second season with more stations and an increase of more than 113,000 miles covered compared to last year’s figures.

Riders traveled over 197,550 miles by the end of November, according to statistics published on the program’s website, compared to last year’s total of 84,127 miles. The mileage was accrued over the course of more than 75,400 rides.

“We added one new town, we added a few stations, so there are more stations out there,” said Wayne Feiden, ValleyBike project manager and Northampton director of planning and sustainability, “but there are a lot more riderships per station.”

The bike share service expanded into Easthampton over the summer, with four stations installed at City Hall, Old Town Hall, the Rail Trail at Millside Park and 90 Union St. throughout June and July, and has experienced “steady and very healthy” ridership, Feiden said. The program also added to its existing services in South Hadley and Holyoke, with a new station at Woodlawn Plaza in South Hadley and Holyoke Community College.

The program can also trace some of its increased mileage to a longer season — the bike share’s inaugural season started in late June last year, compared to April in 2019. The stations were closed down on Nov. 30 each year. Average ride lengths remained at around 2 miles, Feiden said, which is about the national average for electric-assist bike shares.

Feiden said the program is eyeing a 30 percent increase to its system next year, with planned introductions to Chicopee, Hadley and West Springfield and additional stations in communities that already host ValleyBike kiosks.

During the 2019 season, ValleyBikes were available in Northampton, Amherst, South Hadley, Easthampton, Holyoke, and Springfield.

While long-term ridership has exceeded expectations, Feiden said, the service is still seeking a systemwide sponsor.

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