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Pace is picking up

With new bikes, a new dockless system and a new fee structure, Albuquerque’s bike-share program is on a roll.

“Making bikes more accessible and more affordable was one of our biggest goals,” said Valerie Hermanson, a transportation planner at the Mid Region Council of Governments.

Bike-sharing systems have set up shop in cities including London, Paris, New York and Chicago. According to a report by the National Association of City Transportation Officials, Americans took 35 million bike-share trips in 2017, up 25 percent from the previous year. Bike sharing no longer represents a fringe protest movement against car culture but an essential part of many cities’ transportation infrastructure.

In Albuquerque, the city’s “Pace” program, launched in the first quarter of 2018, now has 250 bicycles and 41 bike rack locations.

The recent addition of bikes into neighborhoods and adjacent to multi-use trails expands the program bringing more bikes into downtown and Nob Hill and adding stations in Sawmill neighborhood, near El Vado ABQ and along the bike path near Green Jeans Farmery.

Hermanson said riders took nearly 3,500 trips from the launch of the Pace system, on April 19, to June 20. And the bikes are apparently being used for everything from transportation around UNM to cruises along the bosque trail near Tingley Beach.

“Our longest ride was (from the center of town) out to the petroglyphs,” she said.

The Pace system is a dockless bike share service powered by Zagster – the company that owned and operated Albuquerque’s pilot program from May 2015 until April 2018. Pace features a unique “lock-to” dockless bike share model in which bikes lock to fixed objects – not just to specific Pace bike racks. The new system also offers more affordable pricing, according to Hermanson.

“The pilot program required a membership fee upfront,” she said. “The Pace system in-app purchases of credits you can use as you go.” In addition, Hermanson said, Zagster also has many promos and discounts that make riding more affordable.

“For example, students get a 50 percent discount,” she said.

To find out more about how to use Pace, people can download the free “Pace Bike Share” app, available in the App Store or Google Play. The app allows riders to locate available bikes and parking locations and unlock bikes at the touch of a button. Rides cost $1 per 30 minutes, and the first 30-minute ride for every new user is free.