(Camden, NJ) – A partnership of organizations joined together at Roosevelt Plaza to launch the first dockless bike share initiative in the state. The Camden Bike Share demonstration, with the support of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, and the world’s first and largest dockless bike share company, ofo, will run through September 2018.
“The Camden Bike Share will be an extremely affordable, convenient, and fun way for residents and visitors to get around and see all the phenomenal progress taking place in the city,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran. “This summer, we want to provide an easy way to explore our beautifully rehabilitated parks, new restaurants, and bustling waterfront without the worry of parking.”
The Bike Share will encourage alternative modes of transportation in the city, especially along the Camden GreenWay and the Circuit Trails.
“The Freeholder Board has made advocating and implementing more bike trails and alternative means of transportation throughout the region a priority. This hi-tech way to go low-tech is a great opportunity for residents to get out of their cars and onto a bike in order to traverse Camden’s trails and roadways,” said Freeholder Jeff Nash. “Whether it’s a daily commute to work or riding for recreation this program provides a sustainable two-wheel option for residents.”
Several hundred bikes were deployed throughout the city today, with ofo’s operations team positioned to fix improperly stationed bicycles, such as those tied to fire hydrants or blocking a sidewalk, in addition to collecting and redistributing them.
As avid bike rider and resident of the city, Congressman Donald Norcross talked about the new initiative.
“Bikeshare programs provide an easy, accessible, affordable and environmentally-friendly way for people to get around to work, school and local businesses.” Norcross said. “Plus, Camden will not only be joining the movement, but leading the way with a new, innovative app. Whether you live in the city, like I do, or are coming to visit from the suburbs or across the river, I encourage you to take a bike for a ride and create your own bike tour to see how Camden is truly rising.”
The Camden Bike Share demonstration is being implemented to complement a feasibility study of bike share in Camden which has been funded by the William Penn Foundation.
“We’re so glad to be working with the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers and ofo to help us showcase Camden as a strong candidate for a bike share as a potential future investment,” said Kris Kolluri, President and CEO of the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. “In addition to creating jobs and boosting the local economy, the Camden Bike Share could ultimately contribute to easing traffic congestion, reducing carbon emissions, and saving energy.” “VTC at Rutgers is a national leader in understanding the nexus between transportation, equity and environmental justice,” said Charles Brown, Principal Investigator from VTC, “so we are excited about conducting the research and public outreach for the Camden Bike Share by offering an accessible and affordable mode of transportation to Camden residents.”
ofo’s bright yellow bikes are rented at $1 an hour using the ofo mobile phone application. The service does not use parking docks that line curbs as seen in other cities; instead, customers find an available bike close to them on their phone, enter a code provided by the app to unlock the bike, and push a lever to lock the bike at the end of their trip, leaving the bike behind for the next rider. The bikes have GPS units, allowing customers – and the ofo operations team – to track their location. Users can ride anywhere within the City of Camden limits.
According to ofo, some of its partner cities have seen short-distance car trips (under three miles) reduced by as much as 44 percent.
“The beauty of ofo’s system is the accessibility of affordable transportation, enabling users to pick up a bike, get exactly where they’re going, and lock it up when they arrive,” said Charles Taylor, Head of North America at ofo. “Through a close collaboration with our trailblazing partners at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and the Voorhees Transportation Center, we’re excited to bring a more convenient, smarter way to get around to every Camden resident at no cost to the City. We look forward to serving the community and hope this demonstration is the beginning of a partnership that continues for many years to come.”
To sign up, interested riders can download the ofo application and pay with a debit or credit card. Interested riders without a debit or credit card can purchase a ride “voucher” at the offices of Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. Visit camdenbikeshare.com for more information.