This afternoon, Bublr Bikes announced and began installing the first of its 10 inaugural bike-share stations in Downtown Milwaukee.
The first station – set at Red Arrow Park, where Bublr also held its official announcement – marks the first step in an extended launch that is expected to grow up to 40 more similar stations throughout Milwaukee in 2015, with the goal of hitting 100 stations and 1,000 shareable bikes within the next few years.
"With these first stations, riders will be able to bike between many popular destinations this year and get a real sense of how the larger system will work in 2015 and in future years of growth," said Bruce Keyes, president and co-founder of Midwest BikeShare Inc., the Milwaukee-based non-profit behind Bublr Bikes.
The system provides bicycles that can be rented, used and returned to any of the ten eventual bike-share stations throughout downtown Milwaukee. The rates start from $7 a day to $20 a month for unlimited trips under 30 minutes each, with a variety of rates in between and additional charges for longer trips. Day passes will be available at the stations, while monthly passes can be purchased online at Bublr Bikes' website.
"Bublr Bikes will put Milwaukee on par with our peer cities and generate excitement for people of all ages," said Mayor Tom Barrett, via press release. "It will be especially popular with the young millennial workers that many employers are seeking."
The development and introduction of the Bublr bike-share program comes after the successful test run of a demo kiosk placed at Discovery World last year. The station managed to provide almost 1,000 rides during its trial run last year with almost no marketing or other bike stations available. Similar bike share programs have also already been in effect throughout the U.S., including in Chicago, Denver, Houston, New York City and Madison.
Bublr's 10 initial planned kiosk locations include Cathedral Square Park, Chase Plaza, Discovery World, 411 East Wisconsin Center, Intermodal Station, the Milwaukee Public Market, Schlitz Park, the U.S. Bank Building, the Wisconsin Center and the station installed in Red Arrow Park this afternoon. Bublr expects the ten kiosks to be installed, filled with bikes and ready to roll within a few weeks. The company plans to announce when each of the stations are operational through its various social media channels.
There's no official word yet on exactly where or how far the planned full 40-station launch next year will reach, but Midwest BikeShare co-founder Barry Mainwood noted in the press release that Shorewood, West Allis and Wauwatosa are all interested in installing Bublr stations in the future.
Bublr Bikes launch director Kevin Hardman noted that, in order to reach its goal of a 1,000-bike system throughout the city, the company still needs $3 million to add to the almost $3 million already raised by Bublr and the help of several private donors and sponsors. Bublr is currently reaching out for additional sponsors and supporters through its website.
"We’re committed to making this a bike system for everyone," said Juli Kaufmann, a Midwest BikeShare board member.