Popular bicycle program helping Dayton go green.
By Laura Estandia, Executive Director of Bike Miami Valley
Link is a bike-sharing transportation system designed for short trips. It offers the fun and freedom of riding a bicycle while contributing environmental and economic benefits to the community. The system launched as the 31st bike-sharing program in the country on May 5, 2015, with 24 stations and 225 bikes. The system expanded in the fall of 2016 with the addition of three new stations.
The system operates year-round thanks to a unique collaboration with the local bike-advocacy organization Bike Miami Valley and the region’s transit authority, Greater Dayton RTA. Bike Miami Valley is responsible for all of the customer service, marketing and fundraising for the program and Greater Dayton RTA balances the system and maintains the stations and bikes.
When asking users about their riding habits, annual member Nick James describes how the system has benefited his quality of life. “I work downtown and I really enjoy having the Link program available as an option to get around. I typically use the Link bikes to get to places that are just outside of my walking range like the 2nd Street Market or the restaurants on Brown Street near the University of Dayton. It definitely beats getting in the car, fighting traffic and trying to find a parking spot!” he says.
Link offers many flexible pricing options for any user type. The annual memberships cost $65 and can be used in other B-Cycle cities. B-Cycle is the company that manufactures the stations and bikes used by the Link System. “We often recommend that members call the city’s bike share before they travel to make sure they participate in reciprocity,” says Bike Miami Valley Business Development Manager Chris Buck. “It’s a great perk of the annual membership and you can use it in neighboring cities like Cincinnati and Indianapolis.”
For the more flexible users, monthly memberships can be bought online at linkdayton.org for $10 and 24-hour memberships can be bought online or at any of Link’s 27 stations for $5. Each membership type includes 30-minute trips for each checkout during the membership period. Any trip over 30 minutes incurs a $3 charge per half hour that the bike is out of a dock.
“The system can function like a regular bike rental if users want to use it for long stretches of time, but since the bikes are meant to be shared returning a bike under 30 minutes will not result in more charges for the users,” says Buck.
The bikes can be ridden on street to get from point A to point B, but many users also take advantage of the nation’s largest paved trail network, which can be accessed from several points in the Link network area for recreational riding. No matter what their reason for riding, many residents love to see the city go green. “Link has definitely changed the landscape of downtown,” says Val Beerbower of the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “It’s a big reason why people are attracted to the convenience of living and working in downtown.”
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