Suffolk County will be welcoming a new bike share program this August with 100 bikes and 24 stations throughout four communities, including Patchogue and Babylon.
The new program, called Bethpage Ride, is the first of its kind on Long Island. Theresa Ward, Suffolk County deputy executive and commissioner of economic development and planning, said this is a big step in reducing traffic and getting people to consider other means of transportation.
“Residents [and visitors] throughout Suffolk will be able to go to a nearby train station, a park or downtown area and right through an app on their phone, have instant access to a comfortable user-friendly bike,” Ward said. “The bike share program will not only reduce congestion and improve air quality, but it will help solve the critical problem of that last mile connection when using public transit.”
Massachusetts-based bike share company Zagster will operate and maintain the bike share throughout Suffolk. The company has been providing bike sharing services for over 10 years, serving more than 200 communities nationwide.
Dave Reed, the sales manager for Zagster, said the goal is to get people out of their cars and connect them to the various recreational activities within biking distance.
“If you think about Long Island, a lot of people think about congestion, traffic, sprawl, but that’s looking at it from the macro level,” said Reed. “If you zoom in, there are some great communities and there’s a lot of revitalization going on, including here in Patchogue.”
With the use of an app called “Pace,” users can access the Bethpage Ride bike share. There are three options, one is the pay-as-you-go, which is $1 for 15 minutes, then a $10 monthly membership which provides unlimited 30 minute rides, and lastly an annual $60 a year option for unlimited 30 minute rides.
Riders will be able to locate bike stations with their app and use it to unlock the bike directly from their phone. The app will also show how many bikes and spaces are available at the bike sharings stations in real time.
The other communities to have Bethpage Ride stations will be decided soon. The program is meant to put once out of reach parks, waterfronts and other recreational activities within biking distance.
The Bethpage Ride bike share system is sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union (BFCU). BFCU President and CEO Wayne Grossé said this was an opportunity to enrich the lives of its members.
“Many of our members, work, live and play on Long Island and in the boroughs, we feel this is a great way to bring a positive impact to the communities in which they live,” said Grossé.