SOUTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Leaders from the Cape Fear region are considering a bike share program to help commuters quickly and easily get around on two wheels.
The Wilmington Metropolitan Urban Area Planning Organization (WMPO) is meeting Feb. 19 to review proposals from four different bike share firms, according to a spokesperson for the city.
"It reduces pollution, keeps people healthier, getting more people to ride benefits everybody," said John Williams, a Wilmington resident who has cycled for about 50 years.
The committee considering the bike share program is made up of officials from New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties and spans about 500 square miles.
Most bike share programs work by allowing riders to rent a GPS-monitored bike using their credit card or phone with a keypad on the bike.
The rider can then use that bike for a specified amount of time before returning it to any specified bike share return point in the area.
City leaders want a bike share program that requires minimal staff, has enough bike share locations around the area, and is conveniently accessible through GPS tracking and smartphone monitoring and payment, according to a request for bids.
UNC Wilmington launched a bike share program in November 2016, and now 70 bikes have provided about 75,000 rides to students.
"It's only like $25 for a year and considering how a normal bike is like $100, it's a pretty good deal for me," said Charles Johnson, a student at UNCW.
If a bike share program comes to the Wilmington area, officials want it to work with the system at UNCW. They envision starting in densely populated tourist areas, and then expanding outwards.
No funding has been set aside for the program because the transportation team is still considering bike share proposals, according to a spokesperson.
A launch date has not been set, according to an addendum on the bike share bid.