The new bikeshare program in Indianapolis is up and running.
The city held a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning outside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
After cutting the ribbon, a group ‒ including a U.S. congressman, mayor, business leaders and basketball mascots ‒ hopped aboard the yellow bikes with black seats and baskets on the back.
They made a brief ride along Pennsylvania Street.
Congressman Andre Carson says the program will help make Indianapolis a national leader in bike transportation.
"This new bikeshare program is what is helping to put Indianapolis on the map," said Carson. "We are a city on the move and we have one more great way to move around this great city."
The U.S. Department of Transportation provided $1 million for the program which is called the Pacers Bikeshare. Mayor Greg Ballard says the kickoff is one of the biggest announcements for the city’s biking community.
"The bikeshare is going to open up our trails, neighborhoods to people who don't bike regularly and those who want to bike more, but don't necessarily bike downtown. So, it's going to make a big difference," he said. "People who are moving into America's cities right now want to see and experience unique things in that city and the growing numbers don't want to use cars to get there. Indy is quickly becoming a leader in providing these alternate sources of transportation like the Pacers Bikeshare."
The system will include 250 bikes and 25 share stations along the Cultural Trail. Marion County Health Director Virginia Cain sees the bikeshare as a way to improve fitness and access to different parts of the city.
"With this bike, they can go down the Cultural Trail to realize all the other attractions," she said. "So, when you are riding that bike, there is something about seeing these flowers and everything. It's a different perspective than when you are driving in a car. So, you see so many wonderful things."
Users pay $8 for 24-hour access to the bikeshare or an annual fee of $80. The first 30 minutes of each ride is free and then it is $2 for the next half hour and four dollars for every 30 minutes after.
Nikki Javurek of People for Bikes says there has been a shift in the culture of bicycling in Indianapolis.
"Historically I think five, 10, 15 years ago, Indianapolis would not have been one of the cities associated with better bike riding, especially for short trips and communiting, maybe for recreation, maybe for bike racing, but not for transportation," she said. "But, now it is definitely emerging as one of the best cities for bicycling in the entire country."
And she says the program keeps the city paced with a national trend.
"Mayors in cities are recognizing bicycling as a cost effective solution to many of the challenges that they face," she said. "Cities are realizing that bicycling isn't a solution just for transportation or congestion or just for air quality or quality of life, but all of these challenges collectively that can be addressed by bicycling."