Thursday, November 20, 2014 · 5:37 p.m.
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Bikes are back in the racks of Chattanooga's Bike Share system. (Photo: Staff)

Chattanooga's Bike Share Program is now fully operational as of Monday night, after months of setbacks and public anticipation.

Leaders with the new transportation effort in Chattanooga, a development market for the system's brand new technology that can now launch glitch-free in larger cities like New York, said this milestone will help set a standard for bicycle transit in the United States.

"The city of Chattanooga and our community will continue to work as development partners with PBSC Urban Solutions and Alta Bike Share to improve bicycle transit technology. It's very exciting that the city's residents and visitors will get to try these new innovations first," Chattanooga bicycle coordinator Philip Pugliese said.

Thanks to the development support and launch in Chattanooga, the entire system's original design has tangibly improved, according to PBSC Urban Solutions CEO Alain Ayotte.

"The bike sharing system of Chattanooga is the first to take advantage of the new operating system provided by PBSC Urban Solutions," Ayotte said in a prepared statement.

Now that the system has overcome initial hurdles, Pugliese said conversations can begin about what could be next for the credit card fee-based system to make it more accessible and deployed in more parts of town.

For the launch, there are 300 bikes distributed among 28 docking stations located primarily within the footprint of the North Shore, downtown, UTC and the Southside.

Expanding that to St. Elmo, Highland Park and East Chattanooga is an important possibility, according to Pugliese.

Other areas of innovation that could allow the system to expand include smart card readers at each station. Technologies such as this provide further opportunities to integrate the system with public transit and corporate sponsors.

Pugliese said future applications could be coordinating with CARTA's monthly passes, as well as student and corporate ID badges.

"Your company ID cards could allow you access to the transit system. Maybe that is subsidized as a health benefit," he said of the potential yet to be explored.

Pugliese said Chattanooga and other leaders in bike communities around the country are still learning about this relatively new mode of transportation in the United States and how best to make it available to everyone.

Pricing structures, station locations and incorporating the system into other modes of public transportation are all areas of growth for bike transportation in Chattanooga, according to Pugliese.

Additional information about locations, fees and memberships can be found on Bike Share's website.

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