Salt Lake's GREENbike program using winter downtime to prep for 2014

Published: Saturday, Dec. 28 2013 8:30 a.m. MST

The GREENbikes have all been tucked away for the winter, but the team has a lot to do to make sure they are ready for next spring, including full overhauls for the bikes, which were used more than 400 times each since April.

One upgrade coming in 2014 is an expansion to 18 slots at each station, up from 13, Bolte said.

The team will also be crunching all the data collected in 2013.

"Right now it's in analysis mode, so just combing through all the numbers to see: 'OK, what stations got used the most? What were the most popular trips?'" Bolte said.

A survey will be conducted, asking Salt Lake City residents questions like whether they would be more likely to ride if the number of protected bike lanes increased or if they would like to see stations near apartment buildings.

As he pedaled around downtown, Evans became a roving ambassador for the program.

"It was actually a lot of fun how many people would stop me on the GREENbike and ask: 'Hey, what is it? How does it work?'" said Evans, who also took the message to friends, family and co-workers. "I could never give you a number, but lots and lots of people that I know personally either tried it for a day when they were downtown … and several people I know went out and bought passes."

Riders can purchase an annual pass for $75 or just pay $5 for 24-hour access. On a 24-hour pass, any bike can be checked out from any station for 30 minutes per trip. After 30 minutes an additional fee kicks in.

About 6,000 day passes were purchased in 2013, while 300 people opted for annual passes. The annual passes are also good for bike-share programs in 15 other cities around the country.

Annual pass holders like Evans are assigned an individual online profile where they can keep track of their mileage, calories burned, emissions saved by not driving and other data. They can also choose, like Evans, to compete on the GREENbike leaderboard.

Breathing easier

One of GREENbike's biggest successes so far has been taking some cars off the streets through a smoggy year, Bolte said. GREENbike officials reported the bikes reduced automobile travel by 52,000 miles and kept an estimated 75,000 pounds of carbon out of the air.

"I'd say that our No. 1 concern is air quality," Bolte said. "If everyone makes one or two (bike) trips a day, we are looking pretty as far as air quality and everything else we need in Utah."

Improved air quality was a top motivator for Evans, who works with the Salt Lake Chamber's clean air initiative. Through the year he kept an eye on his GREENbike profile to track the amount of carbon emissions he was preventing.

"You know you're doing your part, but then you get to see that quantified," Evans said. "It's pretty neat to see a true impact of how much of a difference you're making."

Using Frontrunner and GREENbike also saved Evans "several hundred dollars" in gas money, he said.

"It can save you a ton of money if you're one who drives your car all the way downtown just to drive around a little bit once you're in the city," Evans said. "It makes your life a lot less stressful and it's a little bit of fun in your day."

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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